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Calcutta High Court Extends Central Forces Deployment In West Bengal Post Panchayat Elections

This move comes after the Centre informed the court that 136 out of the total 239 companies have been withdrawn, with the remaining forces set to be deployed in areas where disturbances persist."

Calcutta High Court
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In a significant development, the Calcutta High Court has ruled that central forces deployed for the panchayat elections in West Bengal will continue to remain in the state for an additional 10 days. The Centre informed the court that out of the 239 companies deployed on its orders after the polls, 136 companies have already been withdrawn. However, the court directed that in areas where disturbances persist, the state government and the State Election Commission (SEC) must identify such places so that the remaining central forces can be deployed there for the specified period. The court clarified that the central government has the flexibility to withdraw the central forces as per their plan of action.

During the hearing, the court reiterated that the election results of successful candidates will be subject to the outcome of the ongoing writ petitions concerning allegations of electoral malpractices. One of the petitioners' lawyers highlighted that repolling took place in 696 booths, constituting only 0.1 per cent of the total booths, and raised concerns about the feasibility of the SEC examining video footage from all the violence-affected booths, as reported by PTI.

Lawyer Priyanka Tibrewal presented around 400 complaints of irregularities filed with the SEC, along with affidavits from displaced individuals unable to return home. The court directed police stations to provide sufficient police escort to these displaced individuals, with the district SPs monitoring the situation to ensure their safe return to their villages and peaceful living.

Additionally, the court inquired about the damage caused to educational institutions during the violent incidents that occurred during the July 8 elections. The state's Advocate General (AG) SN Mookherjee assured the court that assessments have been carried out, and funds have been allocated for repairs. Furthermore, the AG stated that FIRs have been lodged against those responsible for destruction to property and schools, with appropriate actions underway.

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