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West Bengal: Home ministry forms team to investigate post-poll violence

  • Published at 08:28 am May 6th, 2021
West Bengal polls TMC celebrates
Supporters of Trinamool Congress (TMC) party celebrate their party's lead in the West Bengal state legislative assembly elections during the ongoing counting process in Kolkata on Sunday, May 2, 2021 AFP

This came after the ministry on Wednesday wrote for the second time in three days to the West Bengal government, seeking a report in post-poll violence in the state

The Indian Union home ministry on Thursday formed a four-member team to inquire into reports of post-poll violence in West Bengal, PTI reported, quoting officials. 

This came after the ministry on Wednesday wrote for the second time in three days to the West Bengal government, seeking a report in post-poll violence in the state, The Indian Express reported.

Referring to his first letter on May 3, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said he has not received a response.

“According to media reports, violence continues,” Bhalla wrote. “This means effective measures have not been taken so far.” The note also said that if the situation report was not received at once, it will be viewed seriously.

The central government’s actions are in the light of reports of political clashes in the state since elections results were announced on May 2. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has alleged that “more than nine” of its members have been killed, while the Indian Secular Front has claimed that one its members lost his life due to the violence. 

The ruling Trinamool Congress too has said that four members of the party were killed in the clashes. Various news reports have put the toll between 11 and 14, but the police have not yet confirmed the numbers.

Meanwhile, soon after taking oath as the chief minister of the state for a third consecutive term, Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday transferred 30 top officers, including Director General of Police P Nirajnayan, The Indian Express reported. 

As part of the administrative shake-up, the chief minister reinstated Virendra as the DGP and Jawed Shamim as the Additional Director-General (Law & Order). 

Both Virendra and Shamim were transferred by the Election Commission, after the poll body took charge of the state in lead-up to the Assembly polls. Nirajnayan had replaced Virendra.

The government on Wednesday also suspended Debashis Dhar, the superintendent of police of Cooch Behar district, where four persons were killed in firing by central forces during polling on April 10 in Sitalkuchi constituency, PTI reported.

On Wednesday, Banerjee had implied that the violence was because the state was under the control of the Election Commission for the past few months and said she would set up a “new police system.”

She had said that incidents of violence cannot be tolerated and alleged that there was more disturbance in areas where the BJP won seats.

On Sunday, the Trinamool Congress emerged victorious after the country’s longest-ever Assembly elections, held in eight phases amid the massive rise in Covid-19 infections in the country. 

The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress won 213 seats – way beyond the majority mark of 148. The Bharatiya Janata Party managed to secure only 77 constituencies.

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