By Arun Srivastava
The chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Arun Mishra, who has shown extreme form of alacrity in announcing a probe in the post poll violence and constituting a BJP controlled probe panel has intriguingly been maintaining a passive attitude towards the brutal assault and reign of terror let lose by the BJP and RSS cadres in Tripura.
The political situation in Tripura has turned quite volatile with the BJP goons and cadres not only targeting the TMC, but also attacking the CPI(M) cades and setting on fire their offices. Bhanu Smriti Bhavan – the CPM state headquarters – and Dasarath Bhavan were set ablaze, while several vehicles outside were also torched. At least 10 persons were injured, two party offices destroyed and at least six vehicles set ablaze, amid the clashes.
A few local newspapers like Pratibadi Kalam and Daily Desher Katha, the CPI(M) mouthpiece, as well as PB24, a local TV channel, were also reportedly attacked; and journalists injured general secretary of the CPIU(M), Sitaram Yechuri has written to the prime minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to stop the “pre-planned” violence targeting party offices in Tripura by “mobs of BJP men”.
Describing the attack on the state committee office in Agartala as the most brazen, Yechuri said “In a pre-planned fashion, scores of offices of the CPI(M), including the state headquarters, were attacked by mobs of BJP men. Among the offices which were damaged or burnt down are the Udaipur sub-divisional office, Gomati district committee office, Sepahijala district committee office, Bishalgarh sub-divisional committee office, Santar Bazar sub-divisional office, West Tripura district committee office and the Sadar sub-divisional committee office”.
The party chief described the attack on the state committee office in Agartala as the most brazen. “They have ransacked the ground and first floors of the office, burnt two office cars and broken the bust of Dasarath Deb, a revered leader of the people of Tripura,” Yechury said, adding that the houses of many CPM leaders and activists were also attacked, ransacked or set on fire. Yechury claimed police and the CRPF took no action.
Yechuri appealed to the Prime Minister: “We strongly urge you to intervene without any delay to stop these violent attacks against the CPI(M) and the Left Front”, he also said; “The impunity with which the attackers operated shows the connivance of the state government”.
In an ubiquitous manner the BJP justified its attack on the CPI(M) by alleging that the TMC has a “secret pact” with the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which had ruled Tripura for nearly 25 years till 2018. Shocking indeed CPI(M) joining hands with TMC gives the BJP the authority to attack the CPI(M) cadres and set on fire its offices. Strange are the arguments. It simply implies that we are not leaving in a democratic country and any political party will have to take the permission of the BJP-RSS leaders to undertake their normal political activities.
Last week, the TMC had claimed that two of its youth leaders from West Bengal sustained injuries after being attacked by BJP workers in Tripura’s Dhalai district. CPI-M offices were allegedly attacked by activists of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after violent clashes erupted between the two parties, in different parts of Tripura and in capital Agartala, on Wednesday, 8 September.
In a significant development the former CPI(M) leader Ritabrata Banerjee who recently joined the TMC has appealed to the ‘leftists’ In Tripura to back Mamata Banerjee & ‘save Red Flag’. He said that the TMC would never vandalise opposition party offices or destroy Lenin’s statues after they come into power in the state. He called out the Left supporters in Tripura to support Mamata Banerjee. He also appealed to the Left party supporters in the north-eastern state to “strengthen Mamata Banerjee’s hand” if they really wished to “save the red flag”. He hit out at the Tripura government and said that the TMC would never wrong the people of Tripura.
Banerjee came out with the statement after the BJP-IPFT dispensation bulldozed a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Belonia town, and demolished many CPI(M) party offices in the state. The government had carried out the demolitions claiming that the establishments were illegally set up over government land. The TMC had unseated the Left Front in West Bengal in 2011 after 34-years in power. The CPM claimed that they have been facing similar attacks from the BJP in Tripura for the last four years. The northeastern state of Tripura witnessed violent clashes between activists of the ruling BJP and the principal opposition, CPM on Wednesday.
These clashes were preceded by an earlier round of violence on Monday between workers of the two parties, when former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar was allegedly prevented from proceeding to Dhanpur.
It is widely perceived that the situation would favour Trinamool Congress to make a head way in the state politics ahead of the polls in 2023. Already Mamata and her party leaders have decided to catch the bull by horns. The Trinamool party, encouraged by its landslide victory in the Bengal Assembly elections has set eyes on the two BJP-ruled states in the Northeast – Assam and Tripura.
Persistent attacks on the visiting TMC leaders by the BJP activists has already started having adverse impact on the BJP as a large number of the political activists are joining TMC. BJP’s aggressive posture towards the Tripura is proving to be counterproductive for the state’s ruling party. The party which was once described as an insignificant force and a non-threat in Tripura is gradually becoming a pivot of all anti-Biplab (chief minister Biplab Deb) forces in the state.
Sushmita Dev joining TMC is also proving to be a major gain. Her father late Santosh Mohan Dev was a two-time MP from Tripura and was instrumental in helping the Congress to win the 1988 Assembly elections. Sushmita Dev had visited Tripura several times in the past and is a known face in the state. The CPI (M) meanwhile took out a rally headed by former minister Manik Dey in the state capital Agartala. “I strongly condemned the murder of democracy by BJP in Tripura,” said Dey. He alleged that the BJP attacked CPM in “a barbaric way” in Tripura. Ransacking party offices across the state, burning offices, are a “murder of democracy”.
The silence of the Union government and NHRC on the utterances of the BJP MLA in Tripura, Arun Chandra Bhowmik, has been really shocking. BHowmick had said that BJP activists should counter Trinamool Congress leaders in Talibani style if they land at Agartala airport. He had said; “I appeal to all of you that we need to attack them in Talibani style. We need to attack them once they land at the airport here. We will protect our government led by Biplab Kumar Deb with every drop of blood, he said. A video clip of his comments went viral on the social media inviting wide criticism.
The stage is set in Tripura for a bitter fight among the three principal contenders BJP, CPI(M) and Trinamool for the state assembly elections slated in 2023.The political situation will further hot up as the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee visits Tripura shortly to discuss the political strategy with her state cadres.(IPA Service)