March 19, 2023
Restore Peace, End Hostility: Delegation of MPs to Tripura Governor

A DELEGATION of parliamentarians visited Tripura to assess the post-poll violence. Since the assembly polls in the state, goons of the ruling BJP have been perpetrating violence and targeting supporters and members of the Left parties. During the visit, the delegation comprising MPs of the CPI(M), CPI and the Congress submitted a memorandum to the governor on March 11, seeking restoration of peace, end to political hostility, and payment of compensation to those affected by the violence. The delegation comprised Elamaram Kareem, P R Natarajan, Ranjeet Ranjan, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, Abdul Khalique, Binoy Viswam, and A A Rahim.

In the memorandum, they wrote, “Having heard about the horrendous one-sided violence unleashed by the ruling BJP followers just after the declaration of assembly election results and aftermath, targeting the political opponents as depicted in print and electronic media including social media, we…came to Tripura yesterday (March 10th) to take stock of the real situation prevailing in the state.” The delegation in three separate groups visited three different areas of Sadar, Mohanpur and Bishalgarh sub-divisions along with former chief minister Manik Sarkar, state Congress president and newly elected MLA Birajit Sinha, CPI(M) state secretary and newly elected MLA Jitendra Chowdhury, newly elected MLA Gopal Roy, Nayan Sarkar, Sudip Sarkar, Ramu Das, Congress general secretary Ajoy Kumar and scores of state-level leaders CPI(M), CPI, AIFB and Congress. One group led by P R Natarajan and Binoy Viswam visited Barjala, Narsingarh of Sadar sub-division, and Bamutia, Durgabari of Mohanpur sub-division. Another group comprising Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, A A Rahim and Ranjeet Ranjan visited Kalkalia, Harinakhola of Mohanpur sub-division. The third group formed with Elamaram Kareem and Abdul Khalique visited Badharghat AC area and Nehal Chandra Nagar of Bishalgarh sub-division.

The delegation wrote in the memorandum, “What we witnessed and heard from the members of victim families was beyond imagination and far more shocking than we apprehended. We doubt whether in any other state of the country such backlash is carried out by the ruling party on the followers of opponents only because they didn’t support the ruling party and worked for the opposition in the just concluded assembly election. The victims informed us that the entire state was sparked with an unprecedented backlash of terror and intimidation just at the moment the BJP got majority in the counting of votes on March 2. In the name of celebrations of victory by the ruling BJP, its unruly workers let loose unbridled attacks with inhuman ferocity on the people particularly targeting the opposition leaders, workers and supporters that resulted in loss and destruction of a huge number of properties. Inhuman physical attacks were carried on hundreds of opposition cadres and supporters. 

“In all the places we could see the remains of gutted houses and shops, charred vehicles right from rickshaws and e-rickshaws, damaged and gutted vehicles.  Residents of the victim families are leading lives in hell for want of food, shelter and medical treatment. During our visit, we ourselves faced open threats from the ruling party cadres in the presence of police. 

“The worst and most shocking incident took place at Nehal Chandra Nagar, Bishalgarh where our team was almost gheraoed by BJP followers when we were visiting some gutted shops at the market place. After the team reached the spot within minutes the miscreants started hurling stones and bricks towards us indiscriminately by chanting the slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. However, we narrowly escaped from the clutches of the BJP followers. Several vehicles of our group members were damaged.   

“We are told that till now there are reports of more than one thousand such incidents, where the houses of the opposition supporters have been extensively ransacked, looted and everything inside the house destroyed. Many people became homeless because their houses were gutted. Witnessing the barbarism, three sick and aged men died of fear of ferocious attacks in Udaipur and Teliamura sub-divisions. In two places, domestic animals were burnt and killed. To block the source of income and livelihood of the people, there are many incidents of destruction of rickshaw, e-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, four-wheelers, etc. Many motor workers were barred to ply vehicles in schedule routes. Many rubber plantations were either burnt or cut down. In several cases, even vegetable crops were damaged, fisheries poisoned. Hundreds of shops were ransacked, looted, locked or set on fire. In many areas, BJP workers are extorting huge amount of money from the opposition supporters in the name of celebrating their victory. The habitants at places were forced to stay in jungle out of fear.  

“Many party offices of the Left parties and the Congress were damaged or set on fire. In a word, a complete lawlessness has been prevailing in the state since March 2. The police in many places though are trying to take control over the situation, but they don’t dare to arrest any perpetrator because they have an attachment with the ruling BJP. In some places, rather the police act as abettor to the attackers. That is why, though thousands of incidents of attacks have been reported so far, hardly there is any report of arrest of any culprit. To avoid a recurrence of similar unwanted situations that we witnessed at Nehal Chandra Nagar, Bishalgarh, we are compelled to abandon our today’s visit to different places.

“Under the circumstances, we urge upon you that as a chief of the state administration, instead of staying indifferent, you should act upon to restore peace, keep the security forces in motion to enforce the law of the land.” The delegation made the following demands:

1.   Move the entire administration to restore peace and remove political hostility. BJP being the ruling party of the state, it has the bigger responsibility in this sphere. 

2.   Order the police authorities to arrest the perpetrators involved in each and every incident of political violence. Appropriate legal action may be taken against all the culprits accused in such inhuman voilence.  

3.   Motor workers/owners of e-rickshaws, three-wheelers, four-wheelers, bus, etc who have been barred from plying vehicles in their scheduled routes, must be allowed to resume plying their vehicles.  

4.   All the victims who lost dwelling houses, lost professional resources to earn livelihood and incurred huge financial burden for treatment must be provided relief from the government.