Centre seeks report from West Bengal on political violence

New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday sought a report from the West Bengal government on the measures it took to contain political violence in the state and the steps it took to bring the culprits to book.

Sources said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also issued an advisory to the West Bengal government, expressing “deep concern” over the unabated violence in the state over the years.

The MHA said the number of incidents of political violence in West Bengal increased from 509 in 2016 to 1,035 in 2018, with 773 incidents already being reported till date in 2019.

“Correspondingly, the death toll rose from 36 in 2016 to 96 in 2018 while 26 deaths have already taken place till date in 2019,” the MHA said.

The advisory stated that “the continued trend of political violence from 2016 through 2019, as evident from the above figures, is indicative of the failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the state to maintain the rule of law and to inspire a sense of security among the people.”

“The Government of India is seriously concerned over the prevalent situation in West Bengal. It is requested that a report may be sent to this Ministry on the steps taken by the state government and its law enforcement machinery to investigate the incidents of violence to bring the culprits to book as also the measures taken to contain and curb violence,” the MHA advisory added.

West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi had on June 13 held a meeting with the leaders of the major political parties in the state over the issue of post-poll violence and to create a situation where peace and harmony prevailed.

The move came days after Tripathi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and apprised them of the situation in West Bengal.