The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the West Bengal government to take all possible steps to ensure that no violence takes place during any protest over the controversial remarks made against Prophet Mohammad by now-sacked BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. The court also asked the government to call in central forces if the need arises. Thoroughfares and train tracks were blocked for several hours on June 9 and 10 in Howrah district and some other places of the state as protesters ransacked public and private properties, seeking action against Sharma.
The order was passed after petitioners in several PILs sought deployment of Army or central forces, expressing apprehension that incidents of violent protests may occur again.
“We direct state authorities to assess the ground situation in advance and take steps to call for central forces if the need so arises, before the situation goes out of control or before any loss of life or property takes place,” a division bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice R Bharadwaj directed.
The bench directed the state authorities to take expeditious steps to collect video footage of incidents of violence and property vandalisation and take action as per law.
The petitioners had alleged during the hearing of the PILs on Wednesday that large congregations are taking place under the garb of peaceful gathering, where provocative slogans are being raised.
They also claimed that innocent people are being implicated in the FIRs filed in connection with the mayhem.
The court had on June 13, too, expressed hope that state authorities will take all possible steps to make sure that no untoward incident takes place and peace is maintained.
It had said that steps to call in central forces would be taken if the state police failed to control the situation.