A day after Mamata Banerjee’s government received a terse warning in a second letter from the centre over the post-poll violence in Bengal, the Union Home Ministry has sent a four-member team to the state to assess the ground situation.
The team, led by an additional secretary of the ministry, has left for Bengal.
Seeking a detailed report on the violence, the Home Ministry had asked the Bengal government to take necessary measures to stop such incidents “without any loss of time”. The letter was sent hours after Ms Banerjee took oath as the Chief Minister for the third straight term.
Since the election verdict on Sunday, there have been clashes in parts of Bengal involving both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP. Both parties have traded blame for the violence.
In his second letter to the state government on Wednesday, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said, “I remind you that no report has been submitted despite my asking for details on post-poll violence on May 3rd. Non-compliance of this second letter would be taken seriously.”
The top Home Ministry official asked the West Bengal Chief Secretary why adequate measures to stop the violence have not been taken so far. “There are fresh reports which suggest that post-poll violence has not stopped. Immediate measures should be taken to stop violence and report regarding the same should be sent immediately,” Mr Bhalla wrote.
Moments after Ms Banerjee’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar too sent out a similar message on the violence.
“Our first priority is to bring an end to the senseless, horrendous post-poll violence…I have every hope that the Chief Minister on an urgent basis will take all the steps to restore the rule of law. I have every hope that the Chief Minister, my younger sister, will rise to the occasion,” Mr Dhankhar said, Mamata Banerjee by his side.
Mamata Banerjee had, moments before the Governor’s comments, said her first priority would be to tackle the Covid crisis and she would start off with a meeting with her top officers.
Next on her agenda, she said, was to handle the law and order situation. She has accused the BJP of stirring violence and communal tension after losing the election. On the other hand, the BJP’s top leaders allege that Trinamool Congress workers have murdered its members and set their homes on fire.