The political situation in Tripura turned volatile following a clash between supporters of state Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Agartala, on February 26.
According to reports, the incident occurred when some unidentified miscreants, alleged by the Congress to be BJP-backed goons, attacked Congress supporters in a rally led by former BJP leader Sudip Roy Barman, who had recently switched over to the Grand Old Party, at Kamarpukur Paat, Banamalipur Assembly constituency. The constituency also happens to be that of chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
Subsequently, a video went viral on social media showing miscreants wearing helmets pelting stones at people in the rally.
Speaking to The Meghalayan, Barman said, “We were about to start our public rally when BJP-backed goons, with the help of the state police, attacked us at around 4:30 pm today. They pelted stones on us. They were carrying lathis and sticks and also threatened me with a revolver. They vandalised the stage and injured my security.”
Notably, on February 22, the Congress had intimated the police to arrange for necessary security in their rally.
Barman claimed that just before today’s rally, the police had asked the state Congress to cancel the gathering citing some law-and-order issue. “It’s our democratic right to organise rallies. As law and order collapsed in front of them, the police stood as mere spectators. The police personnel were with the BJP, which shows this is a pre-planned attack,” he added.
When contacted, West District Superintendent of Police, Bogati Jagadeeswar Reddy said, “The incident is really unfortunate. We will take necessary action against those responsible for the incident. We will investigate it further. So far, we haven’t received any complaint.”
Following the attack, Congress party workers, in response, allegedly vandalised a Mandal office of the BJP in the Banamalipur Assembly constituency. To bring the situation under control, the deployed CRPF personnel in the area resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse the mob.
The state BJP, in turn, held a protest rally later in the evening, allegedly attacking the Congress Bhawan in Agartala, and claimed that Congress party workers pelted stones on them when they reached near the Bhawan.
Reacting to the incident and alleging that Barman has introduced a new weapon in state’s political violence – the petrol bomb, Vicky Prasad, vice president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), said, “He (Barman) is working to bring back the Left Regime in Tripura and this is why he is creating such violence in the state. No power can stop BJP from coming back to power in 2023.”
The SP, however, claimed that the BJP didn’t take any prior permission before holding the rally late Saturday evening.
“They didn’t take any permission for the rally. We will deploy more force to maintain law and order in the concerned areas,” Reddy said.