BJP chief’s visit to Jhargram: HC orders contempt rule against DGP, SP

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday ordered the release of a contempt rule ordering West Bengal Police Chief (DGP) Manoj Malaviya and others for ‘breaching his January 5 order’ to allow opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari to visit Netai village in Paschim Medinipur district on January 7, the anniversary of the killing of nine people in 2011, and asked them to appear before him in person by July 28.

Judge Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya ordered that a contempt rule be issued directing the DGP and others to justify the willful violation of the January 5, 2022 court order.

“Having read a petition from Suvendu Adhikari and his affidavit verifying the same, dated January 10, 2022, as well as the exhibits or annexes to the said petition and after hearing Mr. Rajdeep Mazumder, learned lawyer for the petitioner, it is ordered that a rule be enacted calling on the alleged disrespecters, as pleaded in a contempt motion, to justify why they should not be incarcerated or otherwise penalized or dealt with for willfully violating the January 5, 2022 order adopted by this court in WPA No. 129 of 2022,” the High Court said in its order.

On a prayer by Adhikari asking the state government to allow him to travel to Netai to pay homage to the martyrs on January 7, Judge Bhattacharyya had said on January 5 that the petitioner and his security personnel had the right, as Indian citizens to visit not only the village but any other place in India subject to legal restrictions without violating any provision of law.

Adhikari was on his way to pay respect to genocide victims in Netai on January 8 when he was reportedly arrested 20 km before Netai. It is alleged that Adhikari was forced to go back on instructions from the DGP, Jhargram Superintendent of Police and the Additional Superintendent of Police.

Adhikari then filed a contempt motion against the DGP and other officers, claiming that despite a court order, he was not allowed to visit Netai on that day.

On January 7, 2011, indiscriminate shots allegedly fired by the then-ruling CPI(M) worker killed nine people in Netai village.

Expressing its dissatisfaction with a CID investigation into the killings, the Calcutta High Court in February 2011 ordered a CBI investigation into the massacre. The CBI had filed an indictment against 20 people in May 2014; among them, 12 were arrested.

The Left Front government’s appeal against the HC order was dismissed by the Supreme Court. — WITH PTI INPUTS

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