Compensation sought for Bengal poll violence victims

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Kolkata, May 13 (IANS) A civil rights group on Friday appealed to the Election Commission (EC) to compensate all the victims of poll violence in West Bengal.

‘Aakranta Aamraa’, a forum of “victims of human rights violations under the Mamata Banerjee rule”, contended that the victims were attacked when they were responding to the poll panel’s call for exercising their democratic right.

Referring to the various incidents of violence across the state during the assembly polls in which a few people were killed and many others were injured, and their properties were damaged, ‘Aakranta Aamraa’ (We the Victims) urged chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi to initiate adequate monetary compensation for all the people who suffered.

“The EC undertook a huge campaign urging people to vote fearlessly, notwithstanding any kind of intimidation. Since the announcement of the polls many people including children, elderly, poling agents, and others were brutally murdered or seriously injured, and their properties were destroyed by armed miscreants,” reads the letter.

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“All these attacks have happened because the citizens responded to your call go to polling booth and exercise your democratic right fearlessly,” read the letter signed by victims and forum members including Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra who is also the convener of the forum.

The chemistry professor, who is contesting the assembly polls as an independent, hit headlines when he was arrested in 2012 for circulating emails mocking Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chairperson and Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee.

The forum on Friday held a convention where a number of poll violence victims assembled and put their signatures on the letter, a copy of which has also been sent to the state police chief.

“It is the EC’s duty to instil confidence in the voters. So we have approached the commission seeking compensation for the victims. Moreover, the polls this year have been unprecedented for the fact that several children fell victim to violence,” said Mahapatra.

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