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31 Oct 2020, Edition - 1936, Saturday

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Home Ministry seeks separate reports from West Bengal govt on ongoing doctors’ strike, political violence


In what looks like continued friction between Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government and the Centre, the Union home ministry has sought separate reports from the state government on ongoing doctors’ strike in West Bengal and measures taken to contain political violence and investigate such incidents of violence.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an advisory to the West Bengal government on the ongoing strike by doctors and sought a report on the matter urgently.

The advisory stated that “this ministry is in receipt of a number of representations from doctors, health care professionals and medical associations from different parts of the country for their safety and security in view of the ongoing strike by doctors in West Bengal. It is requested that a detailed report be sent urgently on the representations and the ongoing strike by the doctors.”

This is the second advisory in a week. The first advisory was on June 9 pertained to political violence in Lok Sabha polls.

The controversy on doctors snowballed after doctors in several states starting protests in a show of solidarity and the Indian Medical Association calling a nationwide strike on June 17.

Meanwhile, citing the growing number of incidents of election-related political violence and casualties over four years from 2016 to 2019, the MHA in an advisory issued to the state government said the unabated violence over the years is evidently a matter of deep concern.

There have been a number of clashes between TMC and BJP workers post the Lok Sabha polls where the saffron party managed to win 18 of the 42 seats four less than the ruling party.

Both political parties have since then indulged in a bitter war of words and accused each other of orchestrating violence against their workers.

It is requested that a report may be sent to this Ministry on the steps taken by the State Government and its law enforcement machinery to investigate the incidents of violence to bring the culprits to book as also the measures taken to contain and curb violence, the MHA advisory to West Bengal government added.

The report has been sought after a detailed advisory of MHA to West Bengal last week, asking state to take steps to contain violence as a result of political clashes. The advisory was rejected by TMC.

Quoting reports received by it, MHA said the number of incidents of political violence in West Bengal increased from 509 in 2016 to 1035 in 2018. As many as 773 incidents have already occurred in 2019 till date. Correspondingly, the death toll rose from 36 in 2016 to 96 in 2018 while 26 deaths have already taken place in 2019 till date.

The advisory stated: The continued trend of political violence from 2016 through 2019, as evident from the above figures, is indicative of the failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the State to maintain the rule of law and to inspire a sense of security among the people. Government of India is seriously concerned over the prevalent situation in West Bengal.

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