NHRC team visits areas affected by post poll violence in south and north Bengal

Members speak to villagers in Cooch Behar, North 24 Parganas.

Officials of the National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC) have started visiting areas affected by post poll violence in north and south Bengal.

Two separate teams arrived in the State on Thursday. On Friday one team visited Cooch Behar in north Bengal, while the other travelled to Harao and Sandeshkhali in North 24 Parganas. The members of the team spoke to villagers in these two affected areas.

A five-judge Bench of Calcutta High Court headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal had on June 18 urged the chairperson of NHRC to set up a committee to look into allegations of post-poll violence while hearing a writ petition on the issue.

In its order, the Court has asked the Committee to suggest “steps to be taken to ensure confidence of the people that they can peacefully live in their houses and also carry on their occupation or business to earn their livelihood” and point out “ persons prima facie responsible for crime and the officers who maintained calculated silence on the issue”. The State government’s request to the court to recall the order was turned down on June 21.

On the same day the NHRC set up a committee led by Rajiv Jain, member of Commission, vice-chairman National Commission for Minorities vice-chairman Atif Rasheed and NHRC’s (director) investigation Santosh Mehra and DIG (investigation) Manzil Saini.

Raju Mukherjee, member secretary West Bengal State Legal Services Authority and registrar of West Bengal Human Rights Commission Pradip Kumar Panja are also part of the Committee. The committee is expected to visit districts of South 24 Parganas and Birbhum which have reported incidents of post poll violence.

Earlier, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had visited areas in Cooch Behar and Nandigram. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has maintained that “ stray incidents” of violence occurred before her government was sworn in and the administration was under ECI.

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