Calcutta HC seeks state govt response on petition seeking … – The Indian Express

The Calcutta High Court on Monday sought the state government’s response on deployment of central paramilitary forces in West Bengal following widespread protests over remarks against the Prophet. The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition in this regard.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj observed that the state administration must ensure that no untoward incident takes place and further directed that the state government should seek help from central forces in case the need arises.
The petitioners also sought for a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the incidents of violence on the ground that such protests were allegedly “pre-planned.”
For the past three days, violence erupted at several places in Howrah district against former BJP spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal for their derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad. Due to the protests, Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code was imposed in the affected areas and Internet services were also temporarily suspended. Violence also erupted in Nadia and Murshidabad districts.
The Bench further directed the state government to look into appropriate video footage to identify the miscreants responsible for the violence. The Advocate General was also instructed to consider the issue of grant of compensation to those who have suffered loss of property in the alleged incidents of violence and accordingly apprise the Court about the steps taken on the next date of hearing.
The matter is slated for further hearing on June 15.
Advocate Susmita Saha Dutta, who appeared for one of the petitioners, submitted that the state machinery has failed to control the violence and hence deployment of central forces is necessary.
Meanwhile, Advocate General S.N Mookherjee appearing for the state government submitted that such protests are not limited to West Bengal and that similar protests have erupted in other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Telangana and others.
The court was further apprised that as on June 10, 26 FIRs have been registered and that 214 persons have been arrested so far. It was also mentioned that in several cases recommendations have been made for payment of compensation and that prohibitory orders have also been issued.
The Advocate General also informed the court that Internet services have been suspended in the affected areas and that in the past 36 hours no such untoward incident has taken place except one incident wherein a local train at Bethuadahari railway station in Nadia district was attacked and damaged.
Accordingly, he sought the court’s leave to file a report in the form of an affidavit on the next date of hearing pertaining to the steps taken to address the situation. After hearing the matter, the court sought a response from the state government over deployment of central paramilitary forces.
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