November 14, 2021

Tripura: Intolerant and Unconstitutional

THE Tripura state committee of CPI(M) condemns the invocation of UAPA against lawyers and journalists by the Tripura state government. The Party state secretariat has issued a statement on November 6, on the extreme events organised by the ruling BJP party and the role of the State Election Commission and administration regarding the electoral process of urban local bodies of the state. Below we publish the text of the statement.

DURING the last Durga Puja, some unfortunate incidents have happened in our neighbouring country Bangladesh. Using this as an excuse, some organisations, with the direct and indirect support of the ruling BJP in Tripura, organised extremely provocative activities in the religious minority populated areas of the state. These incidents, while temporary, have created an atmosphere of insecurity among the minority population. Despite hundreds of provocations, the majority of the people in the state, irrespective of party affiliations, creed and religion, remained vigilant and the police administration was active even though it was late, and controlled except for a few sporadic incidents.  If the state administration was alert from the outset, the tragic incidents at Panisagar, Bishalgarh, Udaipur, Kumarghat, Kailashahar and Sadar could have been avoided.  During and after the incidents, a number of organisations and individuals from outside the state visited the state to seek factual information about these incidents.  They visited the scene and spoke to the local public and the police administration. They held press conferences in the capital and some have even tried to make statements to the state government urging to take necessary action.

But it has been seen that the state government has not listened to their statements and has filed a case under the draconian laws like UAPA as was done by the British imperialists against our freedom fighters. According to various sources, cases have been registered against 102 persons so far.  The list includes prominent lawyers, social workers, journalists and members of other organisations.  The CPI(M) has termed this role of the state government as extremely intolerant and unconstitutional, interfering with individual freedoms.  If the role of any individual or organisation was against unity, action could be taken against them under the existing law on the basis of specific allegations. But the government did not do that and took unilateral action. The CPI(M) demanded that the administration should constitute peace committees in the mixed population areas with the citizens and organise peace meetings with the citizens and provide adequate compensation to the affected families.

Regarding the election to the urban local bodies,  CPI(M) in the same statement maintained that opposition parties, including the CPI (M), could not submit nominations to the seven municipal bodies due to the utter failure of the State Election Commission to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, continued indifference of the state police and administration and unbridled terror imposed by the ruling BJP.  There, the constitutional rights of the electorate have already been taken away.  Nomination examination in 13 other city organisations ended yesterday.  Now even in all those cities, unbridled terror is being unleashed by the anti-socials under the auspices of the ruling party.  Homes are being set on fire, vandalism, property destruction and telephonic threats are being made.  The CPI (M) urges the State Election Commission and the state police administration to take steps to ensure the safety of the candidates in order to conduct the elections in a healthy and fear-free environment and to take initiatives so that all political parties can organise election campaign freely.  Strict action should be taken against anti-social elements associated with violent activities.