NHRC files final report on Bengal post-poll violence at Calcutta high court
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday afternoon submitted its final report on post-poll violence in West Bengal during hearing of the case by a five-judge bench of Calcutta high court headed by acting chief justice Rajesh Bindal.
The voluminous report and its annexures were submitted in sealed envelopes.
The NHRC filed an interim report on July 2.
Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal, who are representing the state government, said copies of the interim and final reports should be given to the state government so that it may prepare its reply.
The court asked the NHRC to give copies to the state and all the petitioners, said advocate Priyanka Tibrewal, who is representing many victims of the alleged violence.
Tibrewal filed a supplementary affidavit seeking DNA test to identify the body of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporter Abhijit Sarkar who was allegedly strangled to death by a mob in the Narkeldanga area of Kolkata on May 2, the day the assembly poll results were declared.
The court ordered a DNA test by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory and asked for the report to be submitted within a week.
The bench had earlier ordered a fresh autopsy of the body at the army’s Command Hospital in Kolkata. The victim’s brother, Biswajit Sarkar, is among the petitioners who moved the Supreme Court in May seeking formation of a special investigation team for probing alleged violence by Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers.
Tibrewal told the court on Tuesday that members of Sarkar’s family could not identify the body. The court said that DNA samples from the corpse should be matched with the DNA of Biswajit Sarkar.
Representing the state, advocate general Kishor Dutta accused Sarkar’s family of not cooperating with the police. He said several attempts were made to record their statements.
The five-judge bench of acting chief justice Bindal and justices IP Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar on July 2 directed the police to record the statements of all the victims of violence, based on the recommendations of the NHRC and asked the state government to provide medical treatment and ration to the affected families.
On Tuesday, Tibrewal alleged before the court that while recording the statements under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the government was collecting ₹600 from each person for videography.
The court wanted to know who is collecting this money and whether receipts are being given. The case will be heard again on July 22.
On June 21, the bench dismissed a petition seeking recall of its June 18 order that asked the NHRC to probe allegations of human rights violation during the alleged violence. Dismissing the state’s plea for recall, justice Bindal remarked that there are allegations that police are not taking action while more complaints are being filed. He observed that the conduct of the state does not inspire confidence of the court.
The TMC government suffered a setback on July 2 when the court took cognisance of the NHRC’s preliminary report which mentioned allegations of murder, rape and arson. The court gave more time to the seven-member panel of the NHRC and asked it to visit the districts, meet more complainants and file the final report on July 13.