Under 5 months’ rule of BJP-IPFT alliance, democracy is the first casualty in Tripura. Tripura has been converted into a laboratory of strangulating the dissenting voice and destroying the multi-party democratic system of the country. This danger is imminent to be extended to the entire country, if the secular democratic forces are not alerted. This was the observation of the 8-member Fact Finding Team comprised of Members of Parliament, national leaders of Kisan movements and eminent leader of the Alliance for People’s movement Smt. Medha Patekar. The Team members were addressing the press in Agartala Press Club at 5.00 p.m. on 5th August last after two days hectic visit of different places of the state covering six out of eight Districts.
The Team members moved from Agartala in two groups in two directions on 4th August. The first group includes eminent social activist and leader of Alliance for people’s Movement Smt. Medha Patekar, Jharna Das Baidya and Jitendra Chowdhruy both M.Ps. This group visited Maharani of Gomati District, Ramnagar, Hatimatha and Nalichhara of Dhalai District and Mungiakami of Khowai district and Khamtingbari and various places of Jirania of West Tripura District. Most of the places visited by this group were tribal habituated areas.
The other group consisting of K. K. Ragesh - M.P. , Ashok Dhawle - President, AIKS, Rajaram Sing - General Secretary, All India Kisan Mahasabha, Sankar Prasad Datta- M.P., and Narayan Kar, (Ex. M.P.) and Secretary Tripura State, AIKS toured Boxanagar, Sonamura of Sepahijala District, Belonia, Subroom and Baikhora of South Tripura District and Murabari of Gomati Distract.
Members of both the groups witnessed wreckage of destructions or arson of opposition parties and their mass organisation offices mainly belonging to CPI(M) and CITU by the BJP miscreants as well as demolished by the BJP-IPFT Government. They also saw wrecked remains of many gutted and ransacked houses of the Left Front supporters. The members interacted with villagers in pre-scheduled places.
In Boxanagar, Kalshimura, Belonia Subroom, Kalachhara, the villagers alleged to the members that new BJP-IPFT Government did not provide work not more than 4/5 days under MREGA, pension holders are not getting their pension since the new Government assumed office, ration goods are not available due to mismatching in biometric check up. The plights of the left supporters are unbearable. Their houses are ransacked, vandalised and looted. Many houses of the Left Front supporters were set on fire after looting. They cannot run their business, plough their land, their fisheries are openly looted or poisoned. Their vehicles cannot ply on the road, their drinking water pipes are cut in those areas where overwhelmingly majority vote polled in favour of Left Front, their rubber gardens are either cut down or set on fire, and they are extorted huge amount of money according to the whims of the BJP-IPFT local leaders. They cannot even come out to market place. The BJP miscreants unleashed a semi-fascist terror and carry on physical assault on the left supporters. At boxanagar and Sonamura, the minority Muslim villagers expressed their apprehension of communal flare up anytime because of high-pitched Hindutwa propaganda which is nothing but anti-Muslim Jihad. There is hardly any scope of lodging FIR to the police who were directed to stand by the perpetrators, the villagers alleged to the members.
The members of the team visited Belonia college square and witness the base of the Lenin’s statue which was demolished by bulldozer by the BJP workers on 5th March, 2018 following the victory of the BJP-IPFT alliance.
The members visited the house of martyr Sukanta Chakraborty, who died of mob-lynching while carrying on anti-rumour campaign. The wife of late Chakraborty repented before the visiting members that murder of her husband was a grave disaster for her family for no fault on their part. But the state Chief Minister never visited them to see the hard days they are passing on in absence of her husband. They also condoned the relatives of Rakesh Dhar, a youth activist who was found dead hanging in a kneel-down condition from a rubber tree and the BJP claimed it to be a case of suicide. The wife of the victim made a strong urge to the visiting members for justice and punishment of the killers.
The members led by Smt. Medha Patekar visited Maharani, Hirapur of Udaipur Sub-Division and Ramagar Kalajhari, Nambucherra, Hatimatha and Boalkhali of Gandachhara Sub-Division and interacted with the villagers everywhere. From Maharani Medha Patekar collected some remains of ruins of destroyed party office. A petty trader of Ramnagar informed, at present his sale proceed does not touch even Rs. 500/- per day whereas, during Left Front regime it was about 5/6 thousand. Such was the condition of the rural vegetable sellers. At Hatimatha, where the IPFT miscreants prevented movement of MLA team led by the Leader of the Opposition Manik Sarkar few days back, hundreds of villagers gathered to express their anguish before the team members. The villagers informed that all the schemes under TTAADC are being implemented by the IPFT workers keeping aside the elected village Committee and BAC members. In absence of village work, the villagers go to Bangladesh to collect ‘Gandhaki ‘, a raw material for manufacturing perfume. Now it is being sold at a throw away price. Chiran Kumar Tripura of Boalkhali informed the members that TTAADC had given sanction of 13 projects recently. But the IPFT workers made the concerned BDO compelled to keep the projects help up. He also alleged against the police who are shamelessly aiding the perpetrators instead of victims. The Fact Finding Team led by Medha Patekar visited Nalichhara CPI(M) office which was burnt to ashes on 24th July last by the BJP workers. The Team also visited the house of the martyr Pradip Debbarma, a youth activist who was killed by the BJP killers on 4th June last.
Expressing anguish over the vindictive attitude of the ruling alliance towards the opposition, the members said in the press meet that, what is going on in this state is nothing but a planned drive for annihilation of the opposition parties. This is a dangerous trend set in the state. We did saw not only the demolished or ransacked party offices. At the same time it was noticed everywhere that, houses or shops near the party office were not touched. Evidently, target of this drive was not at all public interest, rather marginalisation of opposition parties. This is quite violation of the Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. Even a Library of Upajati Ganamukti Parishad established by late legendary tribal leader Dasaratha Deb in its inceptive days at Durga Chowdhury Para in 1945 was demolished. In a word, it is an attack not only on some party offices, it is a serious assault on the democratic structure of the country, the visiting members observed.
Taking the issue of so called resignation of election members of local bodies in large number under coercion created by the ruling party miscreants, the Team members said, we are in doubt, who are managing the law and order situation in the state, BJP-IPFT hoodlums or the police. Otherwise, how is it possible that the elected members cannot go to their office. They are hackled and physically assaulted even inside the Government office while in duty, and in most of the cases the police remain just onlookers. Tripura has now become a glaring instance of criminalisation of politics which is looming large a danger of fascism.
Medha Patekar informed, she wanted to talk to the DG of state police. But he declined to talk to me because, he informed, he has no reply to those questions she might had in mind. If within 5 months, the condition of the state tunrs so alarming, what would be the fate if the state after five years, she exclaimed. Why Tripura situation does not find place in the prime Minister’s ‘Man Ki Baat’ programme, she quipped.
The Kisan Mahasabha General Secretary Rajaram Singh expressed utter dissatisfaction over spreading of baseless rumour by the minister himself that claimed 4 innocent people including two women. More surprising is that the minister as yet did not apologise for the blunder he committed. In a word a rule of autocracy has been imposed in Tripura at present, he asserted.
Ashoke Dhawle said, the entire state has been left to some lumpen brigade of the ruling parties. It would not be proper to think that the masterminds of these horrific barbarous attacks are isolated incidents in the state of Tripura, it is a part of the central plot of the ruling party targeting to apply in the whole country in future.
Referreing to ‘Daily Desher Katha’, a progressive daily of the state has been singled out for preventing its circulation. Its reporters, agents, hawkers, even its readers are under attacks. Snatching of its bundles and destroying of those regular phenomena since assumption of this Government. No step was taken by the police in any incident. K.K. Regesh assured the people of the state that the experience of barbarism that the Team witnessed in Tripura would exposed in the national arena as well as in the parliament. The delegates lastly assured that, the entire secular democratic people of the country would rise in support of the people of Tripura for restoration of democracy, peace and harmony in the state of Tripura.