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Calcutta High Court to hold hearing on post-election violence in West Bengal

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Calcutta High Court to hold hearing on post-election violence in West Bengal

Photo: Hindustan Times

India’s Calcutta High Court will hold a hearing today on whether to form a team to investigate violence following West Bengal’s March 27 Legislative Assembly elections.

Violence followed the Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) electoral victory, with police inaction exacerbating the situation. TMC and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have accused each other of instigating attacks on rival supporters. Misinformation is rampant, with police struggling to fact-check social media content that continues to inflame voters’ anger.

West Bengal has a history of post-electoral political violence. The Hindu-nationalist BJP has been criticized for characterizing violence as communal and religious-based, rather than political, further inflaming social tensions in a state where Muslims are a sizable minority.

Expect the Calcutta High Court to form a team to probe the violence, especially due to alleged police negligence. Though the public will likely welcome an investigation, TMC and BJP are unlikely to significantly aid any inquiry due to each parties’ insistence that the other is to blame, with the TMC government already criticizing a Home Ministry team sent to investigate the violence. Intervention is unlikely to come from the top, as Prime Narendra Minister Modi has repeatedly endorsed his BJP’s polarizing political rhetoric.

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