'Public spirited' persons outraged selectively over Tripura violence: State to SC

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'Public spirited' persons outraged selectively over Tripura violence: State to SC
© Provided by The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The BJP-ruled Tripura government on Saturday told the Supreme Court that the so-called public spirited persons are setting a dangerous precedent by moving self-serving PILs seeking probe into Tripura violence while keeping silent when TMC-ruled West Bengal was bloodied by communal post-Assembly poll violence and Kolkata Municipal elections.

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Responding to a PIL by Ehtesam Hashmi seeking probe into Tripura violence, the BJP government said the PIL is entirely on the basis of a so-called fact-finding report authored by the Hashmi with three lawyers, sponsored by National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations, CFD and People’s Union for Civil Liberties, titled ‘Humanity under Attack in tripura #Muslim Lives Matter’. Hashmi has sought independent investigation into the alleged incidents of violence against Muslim Community mentioned in the fact-finding report, co-authored by him.

The state government’s affidavit said Hashmi’s petition sets a dangerous precedent and abuses the process of ‘public interest litigation’. It said that earlier the professional ‘public spirited persons’ used to rush to the court with newspaper articles. Since, the court declined to entertain PILs solely based on newspaper clippings with bald pleadings, the ‘public spirited persons’ in the last three or four years devised a new strategy.

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The strategy is – either a pre-planned article or planted article gets published in a few tabloids. This then becomes the basis of filing a PIL subsequently, the state said. Alternatively strategy was – such ‘so-called public spirited persons’ send their own teams to generate self-serving reports. Such reports thereafter became the cause of action as well as ‘material’ for filing of personal interest petitions camouflaged as PILs in the SC, the Tripura government said.

“The present petition by Hashmi is also a result of and is based upon such self-serving report ‘Humanity Under Attack in Tripura – #Muslim Lives Matter’, which is a unilateral, exaggerated and distorted version of incidents in Tripura and has no veracity in the eyes of the law. The situation in the state had always been under control of law enforcing machinery,” the state said and requested the SC to weed out such conspiratorial self-serving petitions masquerading as PILs.

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Tripura government said, “It is very surprising to note that just a few months back, a series of pre-poll and post-poll violence took place in West Bengal which were definitely wider in geography and very severe in magnitude. The ‘so-called public spirit’ of the petitioners did not move a few months back in larger scale communal violence (in West Bengal) and suddenly their ‘public spirit’ got aroused due to some instances in a small state like tripura.”

The BJP government said, “No individual or group of individuals professionally functioning as ‘public spirited persons/groups’ can selectively invoke the extra-ordinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to achieve some apparent but undisclosed objective. This selective rousing of public interest itself justifies dismissal of the PIL with exemplary cost.”

It said in the last two decades PIL has become an instrument with professional ‘public spirited persons’, who thrive on filing selective petitions in so-called public interest. Considering the bitter experience of last 15 to 20 years in general, and of the last decade in particular, it is high time that the SC, for the sake of majesty of the highest court of the land, draws a demarcating line to segregate the professional public-spirited persons from the genuine ones, the state said.

Tripura drew the SC’s attention to its own order refusing to entertain a PIL seeking independent probe into the large-scale violence that took place during Kolkata Municipal elections and relegated the matter back to the HC. The state government said since the Tripura High Court has already taken suo motu cognizance of the violence and it would be appropriate for the PIL petitioners to intervene in the pending proceedings before the Tripura HC rather than engaging the SC.

The state said some incidents of violence took place in the state after reports of large-scale violence and vandalism of Durga Puja pandals were reported from neighbouring Bangladesh and assured the court that stringent action has been initiated against those who perpetrated violence.

Tripura said that an orgnisation, Indian American Muslim Council, against which there is information of connivance with Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), has link with pan-ISlamist networks – Jamaat & terror linked groups. “Preliminary inquiry from the internet corroborates the information from another Twitter account Disinfo Lab… There are at least 14 links which have originated from outside India revealing the conspiracy hatched at outside India also to defame and promote hatred between religious groups and create disturbances.

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