No Rule of Law, But Law of Ruler: NHRC on Post-Poll Violence in WB

In a report submitted to the Calcutta High Court, the NHRC called out the "appalling apathy" of the TMC government.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Mamata Banerjee said that the NHRC must respect the judiciary and should not have leaked the report. Image used for representational purposes.</p></div>

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday, 15 July, in a report submitted to the Calcutta High Court on the post-poll violence in West Bengal, called out the "appalling apathy" of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led government and slammed the violence by supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) against supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

In its report, the NHRC said that the post-poll violence"resulted in disruption of life and livelihood of thousands of people and their economic strangulation".

Saying that the situation in the state is a manifestation of "Law of Ruler", instead of "Rule of Law", the report also held the local police to be "grossly derelict, if not complicit, in this violence".

"There is palpalable fear among victims against the police and goons of the ruling party. Many displaced persons have not yet been able to return to their homes and resume their normal life and livelihood. There have been several sexual offences but victims are scared to speak out. Loss of faith in state administration among victims is very evident," the NHRC said.

'Rapes, Murders Must be Probed by the CBI'

The report further said: "People were left on their own to protect the violation of their human and fundamental rights, including right to life, liberty, dignified living, and health."

The NHRC suggested that grievious offences like rape and murder be invetigated by the CBI and tried in courts outside the state. It also recommended that the investigations of other matters should be conducted by a court-monitored SIT.

"The recommendations also include ex-gratia payment, compensation for damages, measures for reinstatement and rehabilitation, static pickets of CAPF, protection to women, action against delinquent government servants, etc." the NHRC said.

What Mamata Banerjee Said

Alleging that the report was leaked for political vendetta, Banerjee said that the NHRC must respect the judiciary and should not have leaked the report, which was meant to be submitted only to the high court.

"Instead of submitting the report in the court, they have leaked it. They should respect the court. If it is not a political vendetta, how can they leak the report? They are maligning people of Bengal," Banerjee said, as quoted by ANI.

"PM Modi knows very well that there is no rule of law in UP. How many commissions has he sent there? So many incidents, from Hathras to Unnao have taken place. Even journalists are not spared. They give a bad name to Bengal. Maximum violence was pre-poll," she added.

'Baseless': NHRC Denies Leaking Report

However, on Thursday, the human rights panel denied these allegations by saying that they were "baseless and factually incorrect," PTI reported.

It stated, "The NHRC refutes allegations in a section of the media, regarding the leak of the report, relating to the post-poll violence in West Bengal."

The commission also added that it had had submitted its report to the Calcutta High Court on 13 July.

Saying that there was "no question of leakage at the level of the NHRC", the panel asserted that the report was already available with all the parties concerned.

Additionally, it said, "The matter being sub-judice. The committee of the NHRC did not share its report with any entity other than those specified by the honourable court," PTI reported.


Violence in West Bengal

The high court last month had odered for the constitutuon of an NHRC committee to probe and file a report on the post-poll violence that emerged across several places in the state, following the TMC's sweeping victory in the Assembly elections.

The committee was formed to examine all previous or future complaints of post-poll violence received by the NHRC and examine the cases by visiting these areas.

The West Bengal government had sought to recall the court's order but the petition was dismissed.

The order was passed on 18 June, aftera plea filed by BJP leader Priyanka Tibrewal, alleging that a number of people had fled their homes to save their lives from the post-poll violence and were unable to return home.

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