January 15, 2019 6:16:38 pm
After a protracted silence on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, the scion of Tripura’s Manikya dynasty Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburman Tuesday said he was “completely opposed” to the legislation.
Commenting on the Madhbabari clashes, in which 15 people were injured while protesting against the bill, Debburman called the magisterial inquiry ordered by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb into the incident a “hogwash”.
Debburman, who is also a working president of Tripura Pradesh Congress, posted an audio recording on his Facebook page, where he severely criticised the incident.
Tripura has seen a series of protests from tribal political parties over the Bill in last two weeks since January 8, when the North East Students’ Organization (NESO) organised an 11-hour strike across North East India.
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Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF), a NESO partner, set up a blockade at Madhbabari in West Tripura district as part of the strike, which witnessed clashes with police. Fifteen people were injured in the clashes, including three who sustained bullet injuries in police firing.
In an interview with Indianexpress.com, Debburman said he intended to diffuse tensions between the communities. He also predicted that the BJP would face resistance in the Northeast due to the Bill and claimed that the party would be in “huge trouble” in the region barring Cachar in Assam and a few areas in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Speaking about the police action at Madhabbari, the royal scion said, “What was the need of firing? Is this Kashmir? Were those protesting terrorists? You could have arrested them, tear gas, water cannon. They were shot in the back when they were running away”.
At the same time, Debburman lauded the erstwhile Manik Sarkar government for tackling similar situations with “more maturity”. Interestingly, Sarkar and the CPI(M) have been highly critical of the Tripura royal family since the 1930s Jana Siksha Andolan, an anti-monarchy movement in favour of mass education.
Debburman also criticised the BJP’s coalition partner Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), saying he was ashamed of the leaders.
He also alleged that a particular political party tried to threaten him with dire consequences for his social media posts about the Madhabbari incident. “They said I might get shot in the way two bullets hit the head of Maharaja Bir Bikram’s statue. I am not afraid of being killed. If I am touched, entire Tripura will be on fire,” he said.
Debburman further alleged that an instruction has come from Delhi to teach a lesson to anybody who opposes the Bill.
“There is an instruction from Delhi that anybody who opposes the Citizenship Amendment Bill should be taught a lesson. That’s why in Assam, son of the soil Sarbananda Sonowal charges 85-year-old Hiren Gohain with sedition and in Tripura, people are shot at. These instructions are not given by Biplab Kumar Deb. It has come from Delhi”, he claimed.
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