September 12, 2021

Tripura: A March for Restoration of Democracy

Haripada Das

THOUSANDS of determined people thwarted a plan of the autocratic BJP-IPFT dispensation in Tripura to disrupt a scheduled march of the CPI(M) to Kathalia to submit a deputation to the block development officer (BDO) on an eight-point charter of demands on September 6. Goons stationed at three locations under the patronage of the ruling BJP had tried to prevent leader of opposition, Manik Sarkar from joining the march, but the spirited marchers upset their plan and wrote a new chapter of resistance in the state that has been reeling under state-sponsored violence and mal-governance in the three-and-a-half years of the BJP-IPFT government.

On most occasions, whenever Sarkar approaches to attend any scheduled campaign programme in any subdivision, the police would raise the same plea: “Please don’t move further. You going ahead may invite problem in the law-and-order situation.” This time too, the attitude of the police was not different. Sarkar’s convoy was stopped by the police at Dhanpur. Here, a group of masked miscreants blocked the road by placing flaming tires on the road and pelted stones targeting the vehicles of CPI(M) leaders. The police requested Sarkar not to move further. But Sarkar strongly argued with the police and said, “It is your duty to help me attend my scheduled programme. You must act against the law-breakers.” Even then the police remained indifferent and were wasting time. Sensing the evil intension of the police, the people accompanying the Party leaders started marching forward in a huge procession pushing aside all barriers set up by the BJP miscreants who ultimately had to run away in the face of fury of the marchers. Sarkar walked along the procession up to Kathalia. In this way, breaking the first blockade at Dhanpur, the spirited marchers faced another blockade at Bashpukur near Kathalia. Here too the miscreants were forced away by the marchers. Walking a distance of about six kilometres, Sarkar, MLAs Shyamal Chakraborty and Sahid Chowdhury, other Party leaders and thousands of marchers finally reached Kathalia.

On being informed of the road blockades and attack on Sarkar and other Party leaders, the participants of the block deputation at Kathalia started advancing towards Dhanpur in a massive way. Both the processions merged near Kathalia creating a sea of red wave. Before reaching Kathalia, the miscreants again tried to terrorise the marchers by bursting crackers but the resolute marchers did not bother to such provocations. In the entire episode, the large contingent of police was seen hardly taking any action against the mischief-mongers. This is a battle thousands of Party workers and supporters had to fight to ensure Sarkar, a former chief minister of the state for 20 years, enters the constituency he represents in the assembly now.

While a five-member Party team submitted a deputation to the BDO, Sarkar addressed the rally. Calling the marchers as heroes of the day, Sarkar said, “What you have done today would be an inspiration for the peace-loving, democratic people not only of Kathalia and Sonamura subdivision, but also of the entire state. This was possible only due to your do or die determination and commitment to the people’s cause.” Narrating the appalling condition of the working people, peasantry, agri-workers, small traders, unemployed youth and even government employees of the state, Sarkar said all sections of people are victims of this misrule. The government is doing just opposite of what they promised. The people are raising questions about the golden promises that allured the vast masses. There is no service in the hospital for there is severe scarcity of doctors, nurses, etc. The Covid-19 situation was so mismanaged that patients preferred embracing death at home to being admitted in hospital.  Daily wage earners are the worst victims of this rule particularly during the lockdown period for want of work and food. Thus, they are trying to keep the people confined to their home to suppress people’s anger. “If you keep silent, you would be serving for this semi-fascist rule. So, gather courage, hit the street and mobilise people against this black rule for survival,” Sarkar appealed to the people.

On the same day, a huge demonstration was held in Agartala town in protest against an attempt by the BJP miscreants to launch an attack on the leader of opposition. Similar protest demonstrations were held in various sub-divisional towns on September 7.

Having failed to disrupt the scheduled programme in Kathalia, the BJP resorted to harassing CPI(M) cadres using police with false cases. They lodged FIR against many of the CPI(M) leaders and workers. Till now the police arrested four CPI(M) cadres. Simultaneously, the local BJP goons along with hired miscreants carried on raids with lethal weapons targeting the houses of the CPI(M) leaders since September 6 evening. They attacked the house of Subhas Deb, CPI(M) Sonamura SDC member, at Bhabanipur and beat him mercilessly. Deb is now under treatment at GBP Hospital in Agartala. The miscreants set the Bashpukur CPI(M) local committee office on fire and ransacked another office at Nidaya on September 7 evening. The CPI(M) leaders and workers have started squatting in front of the Jatrapur police station demanding legal action against the miscreants.

In a word, this heroic action of Sonamura Party workers has boosted the morale of people fighting for democracy throughout the state and for the ruling BJP, it is time to realise that people shall not tolerate rampant attack on democracy any more.