Violence Erupts in Tripura: ‘BJP Mobs’ Set Office on Fire, Says CPI(M)
Ten persons were injured, two party offices destroyed, a few others vandalised and at least six vehicles set ablaze.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) (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.
Bhanu Smriti Bhavan – the CPM state headquarters – and Dasarath Bhavan were set ablaze, while several vehicles outside were also torched.
As per The Indian Express, 10 persons were injured, two party offices destroyed, a few others vandalised, 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.
Condemning the "planned orchestrated attacks on party offices," the communist party uploaded photos of the damage left behind.
CPI(M) said in a tweet, “They even entered the State office and destroyed furniture. This is a fascistic attack on the main opposition in Tripura to browbeat and silence the CPI(M). They will not succeed.”
A Tripura police official at the Tripura Police headquarters told The Indian Express that preliminary reports have come from all three places where clashes are learnt to have occurred, but “full assessment is yet to be done.”
Meanwhile, a senior officer reportedly informed that after a youth named Mafiz Miah was injured amid clashes in Udaipur district, a case was registered and two persons were arrested. The officer also reportedly said that suo motu cases are being registered.
The Indian Express has quoted Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar as saying at a press conference that they were on their way back from a party meeting in Bishalgarh when “we learnt that BJP cadres got a bulldozer, tore down our district party office gate there, broke open the doors and set it ablaze.”
“Our party leader Partha Pratim Majumder’s house was ransacked as well. Our youths organised a rally demanding jobs at Udaipur but the rally was halted by the police despite having prior permission. Our supporters staged a road blockade. There was a huge tension and the local district headquarter was attacked.”Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar
Alleging that the CPI(M) Sadar organisational district committee office was ransacked and the party’s state headquarters at Melarmath in Agartala was attacked, Dhar further said:
“I was inside. I tried to stop them but they disregarded me, damaged party documents, smashed photo frames of our leaders, destroyed television sets and threatened us to stop our political activities.”
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya has claimed that his party workers did not attack anyone, and were, instead, allegedly assaulted by CPI(M) activists.
Addressing the alleged attack on Daily Desher Katha newspaper, Bhattacharya said:
“We are sorry if it has happened. It might have happened by mistake. Our top leaders will discuss it and if it is true, required steps will be taken.”
Media Offices Attacked, Journalists Injured
As per NDTV, several alleged BJP leaders and workers "tore through" the office of Pratibadi Kalam, and injured at least four journalists.
According to a a case filed by Anal Roy Chowdhury, editor and publisher of Pratibadi Kalam, equipment was also destroyed and documents, cars and bikes set on fire.
The goons are alleged to have been armed with lathis and sharp, deadly weapons. Prasenjit Saha, one of the journalists, sustained serious injuries after being hit on the back of his head by a sharp cutting weapon.
As per the FIR, "At least four Journalists were injured in the attack. All papers and documents, computers and CCTV cameras were destroyed while a huge contingent of police remained as silent spectators."
"The police did nothing," the FIR also reads, as per NDTV.
Amid outrage from media organisations and senior journalists, Agartala Press Club Secretary Pranab Sarkar was quoted by NDTV as saying:
"If the police do not arrest the attackers within 12 hours, we would launch massive agitations to get justice. The government must compensate the damage done."
The trouble began from Udaipur town in Gomati district of Tripura after CPI(M)’s youth wing Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) took out a procession and a few activists from the rally allegedly attacked a BJP activist, news agency PTI reported.
A group of BJP activists retaliated by attacking the DYFI procession, police was reported as saying.
As per sources, after the Udaipur clash, CPI(M) party offices in Agartala, Bishalgarh, and Kathalia were vandalised and set on fire.
Earlier, on Monday, when former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar was allegedly prevented from proceeding to Dhanpur, clashes had broken out between workers of the two parties.
Police had to be deployed to disperse the mob and avoid further rioting. A vehicle belonging to the former Left Front Minister Ratan Bhowmick was also set ablaze, PTI reported.
Agriculture minister Pranajit Singha Roy reached the spot and said that the youth wing of the CPI(M) had brought out a rally without seeking prior permission from police.
Roy was quoted as saying, “When police tried to stop the CPI(M) rally, they indulged in violence, injuring several people. A BJP activist, Mofiz Miah, who was passing by, was attacked and critically injured. Besides, a hotel was vandalized and some houses were ransacked.”
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State Pratima Bhowmik led a protest march at Dhanpur in Sonamura subdivision protesting Monday’s violence.
(With inputs from PTI, NDTV and The Indian Express.)
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