Ram Navami Violence appears Prima Facie Pre-Planned: Calcutta HC
On the 10th of April 2023, the bench of Acting Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya of the High Court of Calcutta reserved its order on West Bengal Leader of Opposition and BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea, Sri Suvendu Adhikari vs. The State of West Bengal (WPA (P) 151 of 2023), seeking a probe by NIA/CBI into the incidents of violence that took place in the state during the Ram Navami procession.
Violence erupted during a Ram Navami procession in Howrah, West Bengal, torching several vehicles and ransacking stores. During the violence, several shops and auto-rickshaws were ransacked, and several cars, including a few police vehicles, were set on fire. Four fire engines were dispatched to extinguish the blaze. A large police force was deployed in the area where the situation is said to be under control. Subsequently, a PIL was filed by the West Bengal Leader of Opposition and BJP MLA, Suvendu Adhikari. The writ petition styled as a public interest litigation was filed praying or issuance of a writ of mandamus to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation to register an FIR into the act of violence, arson and communal conflagration a tHowrah and Dalkhola on 30 th March, 2023 on the occasion of Ram Navami.
The Acting Chief Justice Sivagnanam orally remarked that the matter appeared to be a serious one as the reports prima facie suggest that the violence was pre-planned and therefore, a central probe agency would be better placed to probe the matter. The Court noted, “The problem is two-fold. One is whether it is between two groups. The other is, a third group could be taking advantage of the situation.” The Bench further noted that swords, bottles, broken glasses, and acid were used in the violence, and the internet was restricted which shows how it was large-scale violence. Having heard the counsels for all the parties, the Court reserved its orders.
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JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY DIVYA SHREE GN