More than 2,000 female attorneys have petitioned India’s Chief Justice to investigate electoral violence in West Bengal.

Almost 2,100 Indian women lawyers wrote to Chief Justice Shri NV Ramana, urging him to take notice of the post-election violence in West Bengal by forming a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to file First Information Reports (FIRs) and examine the situation.

FIRs are information reports given to the police by a victim or any other person who has knowledge of the commission of a cognizable offence. SITs are specialist groups of cops who have been trained to look into serious crimes.

They are constituted on an ad hoc basis when current investigative equipment is deemed unable of conducting a thorough inquiry.Murders, rapes, assault on individuals and property, targeting of protected groups like as scheduled castes and tribes, and the forced displacement of entire villages in West Bengal have all been reported in the media and eyewitness accounts over the last month.

The women attorneys claim that the state has been in a “constitutional crisis” since the beginning of May, with the state involved in the violence to the point where victims are unable to lodge their complaints.

In a similar spirit, almost 150 retired judges, diplomats, bureaucrats, and police personnel have written to India’s President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, requesting the establishment of a SIT investigation into the situation.

“We are very worried by the senseless incitement of reported violence in electoral retribution against the people who exercised their democratic right to vote for one political party or the other,” they said, warning that these actions could set a precedent that threatens India’s democratic culture.

According to the Indian Constitution, the state government is responsible for preserving “law and order,” and during elections, the incumbent government serves as a “caretaker” until a new administration takes power. If the president believes the state’s constitutional machinery has broken down, he can declare an emergency under Article 356 and dismiss the state administration, bringing the state under federal control.

If Parliament approves the order, the elected state assembly will be disbanded as well.

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