AS the people of Tripura are mounting a struggle against anti-people policies of the Modi government, particularly demonetisation which affected the day-to-day life of the common people, the BJP, TMC and the tribal based regional party IPFT are indulging in undemocratic activities to disturb the peace and amity of the state. Though these anti-CPI(M) and anti-Left parties are working separately, it is amply clear that they have reached a secret understanding to create law and order situation in the state and to damage the traditional bond of tribal and non-tribal populations. It is also clear that they are out to create trouble with an eye on the assembly election scheduled to be held early next year.
The IPFT, which is known as an open political wing of the outlawed NLFT, along with two other tribal-based regional parties INPT and NCT jointly called for a 12-hour bandh in Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council on February 8, demanding annulment of the proposed Citizenship Act Amendment Bill which has provision to grant citizenship to Hindus and other religious minorities migrating from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The CPI(M) has clearly stated that it vehemently opposed this Citizenship Act Amendment Bill to grant citizenship on the basis of religion which will also negate the Indira-Mujib Agreement of 1972. The CPI(M) leadership stated that this is a matter of concern not just for the ADC area, but for several states of the country including Tripura and Assam. Thus, there is no need for a bandh on this issue. The CPI(M) state leadership made it clear that the IPFT leadership, in collusion with the BJP, called this bandh in the TTAADC area to divert the anger of the people against the Modi government. The BJP and the TMC have kept mum on this issue.
On February 8, IPFT hoodlums attacked students, teachers and shopkeepers in Gandachhara, Machli in Longthorai Valley, and Subroom. In Gandachhara, about 30 people were injured in clashes. Some of them were hospitalised and brought to Agartala for treatment. The people of TTAADC area maintained peace and did not fall prey to the instigation by the IPFT.
As their objective of disturbing peace and amity failed, the IPFT leadership again called for a 48-hour bandh in Gandachhara on February 16-17. This time, they gave up their demand of the annulment of the Citizenship Act Amendment Bill and raised the old demand of granting statehood to TTAADC. This is for the first time in the state a 48-hour bandh call has been given by any political party. The police and civil administrations convened an all-party meeting on February 13 and urged the IPFT leadership to withdraw the bandh call for the sake of peace and tranquility. From the all-party meeting, a peace rally was convened on February 14. But the IPFT, BJP and the TMC abstained themselves from the all-party peace rally. The IPFT mobilised their cadres from adjoining sub-divisions to forcibly impose the 48-hour bandh. The IPFT hoodlums pelted stones at the police and Tripura State Rifles jawans to provoke them to open fire. But the police and TSR jawans restrained themselves. The IGP (Law and Order) and the District Magistrate camped there to help the local administration maintain peace. Ultimately, the IPFT withdrew the bandh in the afternoon of February 17. Non-participation of the IPFT, BJP and the TMC in the all-party peace rally clearly exposes their heinous conspiracy to disturb peace and harmony in the state. It may be recalled that on August 23, 2016, an IPFT rally in Agartala turned violent and its cadres attacked the innocent people including some elderly women. BJP and TMC cadres also instigated counter-attack. Their plan was to create ethnic riot in Agartala city. The peace-loving people of the city, including tribals and non-tribals, and the state administration foiled their conspiracy.
The TMC is trying to mislead the people on the chit fund issue. It has deliberately targeted Chief Minister Manik Sarkar alleging that he did not hand over the cases to the CBI to save the Left Front leaders and ministers. Sarkar clarified in the Assembly that it was the Left Front government of Tripura which first favoured to hand over all the chit fund related cases to the CBI for inquiry. The state government had sent 37 cases to the CBI. But the CBI took up only five cases, and sent back 32 cases to the state government. The state government is holding inquiry in 32 cases by constituting a Special Investigating Team (SIT) under the leadership of an IG-rank officer. The Tripura High Court is monitoring the SIT investigation. The SIT has already confiscated several properties of the chit fund companies and arrested some persons. They are submitting monthly report to the high court. The high court did not express dissatisfaction over the SIT investigation even once. To prove its existence in the state, the TMC called for a civil disobedience movement on February 23 and mobilised its members and supporters from all over the state. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee sent two of her ministers. But the so-called civil disobedience movement failed to attract the people. It failed to mobilise even 4,000 people.
The BJP too is desperately trying to foment ethnic and communal tension to disturb peace and tranquility. In December, a BJP worker who was an exorcist was killed by one of his patients who turned violent and attacked him a heavy wooden bar. The mentally unstable patient, also a BJP supporter, was detained by the villagers and handed over to the police. He is still in jail custody. But the BJP leadership, banking upon falsehood, targeted the CPI(M) for the death of the BJP worker. They performed a yagna in the name of its dead worker at Gandachhara and filled up 60 urns with ashes and sent one each to the 60 assembly constituencies of the state. The BJP and the RSS organised civil disobedience on March 4 in all the 60 assembly constituencies on this issue. Police and other security forces stationed in the state foiled their provocation and strictly maintained law and order and peace. Now the BJP leadership has convened a mass meeting on March 10 in Agartala, in utter disregard of the fact that secondary and higher secondary examinations are underway in the state.
To combat the anti-CPI(M) and anti-Left opposition political forces, particularly the BJP, TMC and the IPFT, the CPI(M) Tripura state committee has started an intense campaign all over the state with the fervent appeal to maintain peace and amity and on five-point demands. The demands are: Provide 200 days’ work per year under rural job scheme MNREGA and introduce similar scheme for urban poor; Immediately fill up vacant posts in central government offices and raise cut-off age for employment to 40 years; Distribute 14 essential goods at subsidised rates through the Public distribution System; Provide necessary fund to the state government for procurement of paddy at a profitable price from the farmers; and roll back the decision to abandon SC/ST Sub-Plan allocation.
Mass mobilisations will be organised throughout the month of March in all local committee areas to expose the diabolical design of the BJP, TMC and the IPFT and to maintain peace and harmony.