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Group of 150 writes to President demanding NIA inquiry into Bengal post-poll violence

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A group of 150 citizens, including retired judges, diplomats, bureaucrats, police officials and veterans, wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday about "targeted political killings" and violence after the Bengal elections and called for a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe monitored by a retired Supreme Court judge for a fair investigation and speedy justice.

Alleging "deficient and inappropriate" response of local administration and police, they demanded that the cases be handed over to the NIA to deal with the "anti-national" onslaught on the culture and integrity of the country as it is a border state.

"We are greatly disturbed by the mindless instigation of reported violence in electoral vengeance against the people who exercised their democratic right to vote for one political party or the other. Media reports, largely substantiated by eyewitness accounts, mention murders, rapes, attacks on persons and property, including by anti-national elements, leading to forced migration of people to shelter homes," the memorandum read. These unfortunate developments, if unchecked, could establish a trend that will undermine and ultimately destroy the deep-rooted democratic traditions of India, they said.

They alleged that over a dozen had been killed in the over 15,000 instances of post-poll violence, as a result of which 4000-5000 have reportedly migrated to Assam, Jharkhand, and Orissa. They further sought a special relief package for the victims of this violence and efforts for their rehabilitation.

"Offences reportedly of rape, attempted rapes, and violating the modesty of women, targeting scheduled castes and tribes, and incidents of religious sacrilege are the worst manifestation of post-poll violence in West Bengal," they said.

"It is clear that the overwhelming majority of civilian deaths resulting from political violence were the result of what should be understood as serious acts of commission and omission of the law and order enforcement machinery of the State, or, in the worst-case scenario, induced "State Terror"," they added.

They added that CM Mamata Banerjee must act according to the constitutional mandate to curb the violence and ensure peace, as law and order is a state subject. However, the state government has refuted all allegations of large-scale violence.

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TAGS:Bengal post poll violence TMC 
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