Vol. XLII No. 15 April 15, 2018

Repression and Violence in Tripura

IT is five weeks since the Tripura election results were declared following which the BJP-IPFT state government was formed.  From the evening of March 3, when the results were announced, a spate of attacks on CPI(M) and Left parties offices, houses of supporters and trade union offices began. Since then, there has been no respite in the attacks by the BJP-RSS gangs. In some areas, money was extorted from CPI(M) supporters; in some places their means of livelihood like shops were forciby closed down and  rubber plantations burnt.  Elected representatives of local bodies are being forced to resign, or, join the BJP or IPFT.

The attacks were followed by police raids and searches of Party offices, ostensibly to look for arms stored there.  The new government has thus signaled that it will use the police machinery to target the CPI(M).

The aim of this violence and physical intimidation is to immobilise the Party and the mass organisations.  The electoral defeat is sought to be translated by force into the suppression of the Party and the Left movement itself.

This is what was attempted in West Bengal after the defeat of the Left Front in the 2011 assembly elections. The attacks there were not a momentary triumphalist response of the victor, but a deep-rooted plan of repression and violence aimed at dismantling the Party organisation and terrorising its mass base.

The experience in West Bengal of the past seven years should be absorbed as far as Tripura is concerned.  Like in West Bengal, in Tripura too, the Communist movement was built over decades of class struggle and mass movements.  The political opposition to the Communist and Left forces is motivated by class interests and the animosity of the ruling classes. 

Thus, what is being enacted in Tripura is a ruling class offensive against the Communists and the Left utilising the situation where the defeat of the Left Front has put it on the defensive. No democratic principles and parliamentary norms are observed.  In this no holds barred attack, the suppression of the mass base and influence of the Communists requires the use of violence and all anti-democratic methods.

In Tripura, gradually, the Party is rallying its ranks. Mass deputations are being taken to the police and other authorities demanding an end to the violence and action against the perpetrators. In some places, demonstrations are being held to demand rations and MNREGA work.

For the CPI(M), the implications are clear. In the present rightwing offensive in the country, the ruling classes and its political agents will spare no effort to target and attack the strong bases of the Left.  It is essential for the Party to urgently work out the political and organisational steps to face these attacks, mobilise the people to organise resistance and to maintain live links with the people in the difficult circumstances. 

The Tripura CPI(M) and the Left Front have a heroic record of struggles and sacrifice. They came out successfully, from the period of semi-fascist terror in 1988-93, through arduous struggle.  We are confident that they will come out victorious again having weathered this dark period of repression.

(April 11, 2018)