NHRC takes suo-motu cognizance, appoints observer for violence over Bengal panchayat polls
The National Human Right Commission‘s (NHRC) Director General, Investigation, Damodar Sarangi will be reaching West Bengal today to review the reports of violence during nominations for the forthcoming panchayat polls in the state.
A communication in this regard has been forwarded to the state Secretariat as well to the West Bengal State Election Commission by the NHRC on this count, state government sources said.
It is learnt that NHRC has taken suo-motu cognizance of the reports of violence during the nomination phase with a Congress worker being shot dead at Khargram in Murshidabad district on Friday and a state government employee being severely beaten up allegedly by ruling party activists at Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district for allowing All India Secular Front (AISF) candidates to collection nomination papers.
Meanwhile, the joint forum of state government employees — spearheading a movement demanding enhanced dearness allowance and arrears accrued by the West Bengal government — will approach the Calcutta High Court seeking deployment of central armed forces during the upcoming three-tier panchayat polls.
According to the joint forum convener Bhaskar Ghosh, their apprehension of safety of state government employees linked to poll-related duties turned true on Saturday as a government employee at the block development office at Bhangar in South 24 Parganas district was severely beaten up for allowing All India Secular Front candidates to collect nomination papers.
“Citing that example we will be approaching the Calcutta High Court for deployment of central forces in the polls,” said Ghosh.
The joint forum has already announced that they will be boycotting the poll-related duties unless the central armed forces are deployed. Last week, they also submitted a memorandum to the office of the West Bengal State Election Commission.
Besides that several incidents of violence over nominations have been reported from several districts like Murshidabad and Birbhum among others.
Meanwhile, the State Election Commission has decided to impose Section 144 in one kilometer radius area around the nomination centers in view of the rising incidents of violence and clashes.
A crucial hearing is scheduled on Monday by Calcutta High Court’s division bench of Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya on the issues of deployment of central armed forces for the rural civic body polls as well as extension of the period of nomination process.
Already the Joint Forum of State Government Employees have informed the office of the State Election Commissioner that their members will not be participating in the pol- related duties without central armed forces security cover. The state government so far is in favor of bringing police personnel from neighboring states rather than allowing deployment of central armed forces.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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