Calcutta HC orders Bengal government to get central forces for Hanuman Jayanti | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Calcutta HC orders Bengal government to get central forces for Hanuman Jayanti

Apr 05, 2023 07:11 PM IST

The Calcutta high court also reviewed a list of 27 conditions introduced by the Kolkata Police for groups allowed to take out Hanuman Jayanti processions and said “more stringent conditions need to be imposed”.

KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Wednesday ordered the West Bengal government to seek the assistance of central police forces to ensure peace on Thursday, observing that an additional and sessions judge in Hooghly failed to get requisite security for his family when clashes over Ram Navami processions broke out in the district last week.

West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose visited the violence-afftected area after clashes broke out between two groups during a Ram Navami procession in Hooghly district. (PTI)
West Bengal governor CV Ananda Bose visited the violence-afftected area after clashes broke out between two groups during a Ram Navami procession in Hooghly district. (PTI)

The bench also reviewed a list of 27 conditions introduced by the Kolkata Police for groups allowed to take out Hanuman Jayanti processions and told West Bengal that “more stringent conditions need to be imposed”.

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“Considering the largeness of the issue and in order to avoid any breach of peace, the state government should requisition the assistance of paramilitary forces from the central government. The assistance of the paramilitary forces will definitely help the state police,” the bench of acting chief justice TS Sivagnanam and justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya said in course of a hearing on a petition by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvendu Adhikari to seek a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and deployment of central police forces in the state for Hanuman Jayanti in the state.

For Hanuman Jayanti processions on Thursday, the high court told the state that the police could cap the number of participants, set up barricades, refuse permission where prohibitory orders have been issued and record the procession on video. The list of 27 Dos and Don’ts issued by the Kolkata Police bars motorcycle rallies, use of fireworks, loud music and weapons including lathis.

Violence erupted in the Howrah district on March 30 when stones were allegedly thrown at a Ram Navami procession. It spread to North Dinajpur and Hooghly districts over the next three days.

The high court was told that 1,000 rallies were organised on Ram Navami across the state and that the police has received about 2,000 applications for permission to organise Hanuman Jayanti on April 6. The state’s top law officer, advocate general Soumendra Nath Mookherjee, said it was not usual for so many Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti processions in West Bengal and that there had been an increase in requests over the last five years due to influences from outside the state.

The bench agreed but stressed that once a practice comes to the state, the administration had to take the requisite steps. “We want to ensure that there is no breach of peace,” the court said.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has blamed BJP supporters for provoking the Ram Navami violence and told the state police to be on alert ahead of Thursday’s Hanuman Jayanti celebrations.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) spokesperson Kunal Ghosh reiterated Banerjee’s accusation.

“It is a court order and the TMC leadership will definitely analyse it. But central forces are not coming here for the first time. The BJP violate directions issued by the police and their workers are seen brandishing guns. It is a BJP’s problem. The BJP deliberately wanted to trigger riots. Now when the central forces come the BJP will not trigger any violence and hold peaceful rallies. This would prove their intentions further” Kunal Ghosh, TMC spokesperson, told reporters.

BJP vice president Dilip Ghosh welcomed the high court order. “In all the incidents, we have seen how the police was kept ineffective. Police were beaten up and stone pelting and torching of vehicles happened in front of the police. The Centre is always there to help states. The chief minister is blaming it on the BJP to shield her own failure,” Ghosh said.

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