[Ram Navami Violence] Calcutta HC Orders State Govt To Deploy Police Forces In Affected Areas

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Among other things, the BJP leader's petition sought deployment of Central Armed Police Forces in the affected regions.

The Calcutta HC has directed the West Bengal Government to deploy adequate police authorities in affected areas where incidents of violence occurred during the Ram Navami procession, to restore peace and maintain law and order.

The bench of Acting Chief Justice T. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya said that the West Bengal administration should have been more cautious before allowing Ram Navami processions in areas where there had previously been violence.

The bench was hearing a PIL preferred by Suvendu Adhikari, the Opposition Leader of West Bengal and BJP MLA seeking a probe into the violence during the Ram Navami Processions in the state.

According to the plea, on March 30, 2023, when the Ram Navami Shobha Yatra, which was peacefully proceeding from Howrah Kazipara to Howrah Maidan, reached near Chara and PM Bustee, a war broke out at the hands of anti-social elements, although police had permitted the organisers to conduct the said Shobha Yatra, instead, the anti-social assembly were prepared to attack the procession.

Thus, the BJP leader filed the plea which sought that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conduct an inquiry into the incidents of violence. The plea also prayed for the deployment of Central Armed Forces in some regions where peace had been disturbed.

The counsel representing Suvendu Adhikari stated that the situation is still not under control, moreover, the internet services in those districts are still suspended.

Advocate S.N.Mookherjee, advocate general of West Bengal submitted before the bench that the situation in Howrah and Dalkhola is under control and the internet has been restored in Hoogly.

He further emphasised that there were numerous cases where individuals violated the authorities' permissions. He mentioned the use of weapons and firearms, excessive DJ music volume levels, and an unauthorised deviation from the approved route.

Adhikari's counsel countered that there was no deviation from the route and that the conditions under which permission was given were met. He emphasised that some of the locations where violence erupted on March 30 this year saw comparable violence last year.

After hearing all the statements, the acting chief justice observed that if there had been a previous similar incident of violence, the State should have been more cautious in giving permission.

Further, the bench also directed the state to file CCTV footage concerning the incident but not later than April 5, 2023.

Court the listed the matter on April 6, 2023 for further hearing.