Kolkata: After incidents of continuous violence during filing of nominations for the upcoming rural polls scheduled on July 8, Calcutta High Court on Thursday asked the State Election Commission (SEC) to deploy central forces across the state for rural polls.
The division bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam asked the SEC to ask for central forces from the central government within 48 hours.
“This writ petition is disposed of by directing the State Election Commission to requisition the deployment of Central Forces for all Districts in the State of West Bengal and this direction shall be complied with by the State Election Commission within 48 hours from the date of the receipt of the server copy of this order. On receipt of the requisition the appropriate authority of the Central Government shall deploy the required number of Central Forces and the cost to be borne by the Central Government and no part of it to be charged to the Government of West Bengal,” read the order.
Officers need to produce their ID cards
The division bench also observed, “The State Election Commission shall issue a circular that all officers who have been assigned for election duty shall display their identity cards prominently and whenever any of the observers or any authority calls upon to prove their identity, they should readily and immediately produce their identity card and establish their identity.”
Incidentally, earlier on Thursday the High Court also expressed its ‘displeasure’ that the SEC didn’t do anything to find the sensitive booths for deploying central forces as asked by the High Court which also specified seven districts as sensitive.
ISF worker shot dead in Bhangor violence
Bhangor in South 24 parganas which has been in the headlines for violence for the last couple of days, saw fresh incidents of bombing and violence even on Thursday. Not just police, stones were pelted even at media personnel. Following the order of Calcutta high court, when Kolkata police were escorting those who could not manage to file their nominations, a person, reportedly a worker of Indian Secular Front (ISF) was shot dead.
In Chopra in North Dinajpur, alleged Trinamool Congress (TMC) supporters opened fire at CPI (M)-Congress rally leading to death of a Left supporter and several others sustained serious injuries.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the violence in Islampur and Chopra are due to ‘infighting among different groups and that Trinamool Congress is not involved in these clashes’.
“I would like to state this in clear terms that Trinamool Congress is not involved in these incidents of violence. The party leadership has issued strong instructions to booth workers to refrain from violence, and make sure that the entire nomination procedure remains free and fair. We have seen that over one lakh nominations have been filed by different political parties until Wednesday. Never before in Bengal have we seen participation in such huge numbers. This shows that the entire nomination procedure is bereft of political and administrative interference,” said Mamata.
Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari welcomed Calcutta High Court’s verdict and hoped that there won’t be any further incident of violence in the state.
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