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No Voting In Bengal Seats That Saw Violence On Ram Navami, Calcutta HC Warns

On Tuesday, the Calcutta High Court warned that voting would be blocked in Lok Sabha areas in West Bengal that experienced communal unrest during the Ram Navami festivities.

This comment was made by a panel led by Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam while discussing the violence that occurred in Murshidabad on April 17 during a Ram Navami procession.

The bench remarked, “If people can’t live peacefully together, we’ll argue that the Election Commission shouldn’t conduct parliamentary elections in these districts. That’s the only solution.”

“It’s unacceptable that despite the Model Code of Conduct being enforced, two groups are still fighting like this. In such cases, they don’t deserve any elected representatives,” the bench emphasized.

The court highlighted that similar processions occurred in Kolkata on Ram Navami without any violence reported. “In Kolkata, there were 23 locations where celebrations took place without any untoward incident. If violence erupts despite the Model Code of Conduct, what actions are being taken by the state police and central forces? Both couldn’t prevent the clashes,” the bench observed.

The bench inquired with the state counsel about the number of arrests made in connection with the violence-related cases.

The state counsel informed the court that the CID had taken over the investigation.

In response, the bench suggested, “We will recommend to the Election Commission of India that individuals who cannot celebrate peacefully should not be allowed to participate in elections.”

Although the High Court did not issue any orders regarding the postponement of elections in any constituency, it stated its intention to propose to the Election Commission that polls should be postponed in Berhampore, which is part of Murshidabad.

Furthermore, the High Court instructed the state police to submit a report on the communal clashes.

Ram Navami celebrations, marked by parades carrying weapons, gained attention in 2017 due to their provocative conduct and choice of sensitive routes, resulting in riots. Subsequently, similar processions have consistently led to violence in 2017-2019, 2021, and 2023. This year, aggressive Ram Navami displays once again fueled violence in Murshidabad district and other areas.

The next hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 26.


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