Call Central Forces If State Police Is Unable To Control, Make Stand Clear On Compensation: Calcutta HC On Riots Against Prophet Remark
A Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court has directed the West Bengal government to call the central forces if the state police is unable to control the situation that has arisen due to rioting pursuant to alleged blasphemous remarks against Prophet Muhammed.
The Bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj directed in a batch of petitions, "In case, the State Police is unable to control the situation at any place then State authorities will take immediate steps to call the central forces".
The Bench has also directed the state authorities to collect video footage of the incident to identify and take appropriate action against miscreants.
"Learned Advocate General will also make the stand of State clear on the issue of grant of compensation to those who have suffered loss of property in the untoward incidents", the Bench added.
The Bench has reproduced in the order, a list of instances of damage caused by an unruly mob on June 10, targeting properties of a particular religious community.
Senior Advocates Surajit Nath Mitra, Sardar Amjad Ali and Advocate Dipayan Kundu appeared for the Petitioners in three petitions. Advocate General S. N. Mookherjee appeared for the states and ASGs Dhiraj Kumar Tribedi and Billwadal Bhattacharyya appeared for Center and the NIA respectively.
One of the three writ petitions has been filed challenging the Section 144 CrPC order with a prayer for allowing peaceful procession. The other writ petitions have sought NIA investigation into the rioting and direction for the deployment of central forces.
"Natonal Highway No.6 was blocked for several hours and there was complete failure of the State Police and police was not responding to the situation", the Counsel for a petitioner argued.
The Advocate General submitted that the state authorities were taken by surprise but they have registered 26 FIRs as of June 10 and have arrested 240 persons and prohibitory orders have been passed and internet services were/have been suspended in District Howrah and Beldanga, Rejinagar, Saktipur in Murshidabad District.
"... we express hope that the State authorities will take all possible steps to ensure that no untoward incident takes place and peace is maintained", the Court said while directing to list the matter on June 15.