For the second time in a fortnight, a higher court in Kolkata on Friday came down heavily on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's government for the post-poll violence in the eastern state of West Bengal that claimed a number of lives.
"The state is in denial mode. The administration has been caught on the wrong foot," said a five-judge bench of the High Court in Kolkata, led by acting chief justice Rajesh Bindal.
The High Court's observations came in the wake of an interim report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on the complaints of attacks on supporters of the state's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.
Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP has welcomed the ruling and demanded a probe by an independent agency. "FIR must be filed outside Bengal and the probe should continue. Things will be clear then," he told the media.
On June 19, the same bench slammed the Bengal government for its alleged failure to prevent post-poll violence in the state and ordered the top human rights body to probe all such complaints in the state and submit a report to the court.
The court had also asked the state government to provide all logistical support to the NHRC team "wherever and whenever they wish to visit any place". "Any obstruction will be viewed seriously, which may entail action under the Contempt of Courts Act, besides others."
UNB had earlier reported about as many as 16 deaths in post-poll violence in Bengal, which prompted the Indian Home Ministry to seek a report from the state administration.
In fact, on May 6, a day after she was sworn in as the chief minister of Bengal for the third time, Mamata announced a compensation of Rs two lakh each for the families of 16 people killed in post-poll violence in the state.
"At least 16 persons -- mostly from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool -- died in post-poll violence. We will pay a compensation of Rs two lakh to their family members," she had said.
Appealing for calm, Mamata had also asked her supporters not to indulge in any violence. "Bengal is a peace-loving place. During the elections, there has been some heat and dust and calm. The BJP did a lot of torture. But I appeal to all for calm."
Bucking anti-incumbency, Mamata scripted history on May 2 by single-handedly pulling off an astounding victory in the assembly election, staving off a massive challenge from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling BJP but also decimated the Left Front.
Bengal had witnessed the most high-profile contest in India's recently held state elections. While Mamata harped on being Bengal’s daughter, the BJP asked people to vote for "change and socio-economic development" after 50 years of Communist and Trinamool rule.