Bengal government has appealed to the Supreme Court
The West Bengal government has appealed to the Supreme Court, contesting a previous order by the Calcutta High Court to initiate an NIA (National Investigation Agency) investigation into the Ram Navami clashes that took place in Howrah and Hooghly districts earlier this year. The state government argues in its petition that the central agency should not be assigned the probe as the court’s order was based on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Suvendu Adhikari, Leader of the Assembly in the West Bengal Assembly, with a hidden political agenda.
The case is scheduled for a hearing on Friday. On April 27, the division bench of the Calcutta High Court, consisting of Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya, ordered the NIA probe and directed the state police to hand over all relevant documents to the central agency. The NIA has already registered six First Information Reports (FIRs) related to the clashes.
The NIA has also reached out to the Additional Director General of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the West Bengal Police, as well as the commissioners of Chandernagore Police Commiserate and Howrah City Police, requesting case-related documents, including copies of the FIRs filed by the state police.
The division bench justified the NIA probe by stating that it is beyond the capacity of the state police to identify those responsible for the clashes or those who instigated them, necessitating an investigation by a central agency. Justice Sivagnanam also raised concerns about the suspension of internet services in the affected areas after the clashes, suggesting that such measures only increase tension among the public.
The division bench also questioned the efficiency of the state police’s intelligence wing in gathering information about individuals throwing stones from rooftops in the affected areas.