Forty-eight hours since the Tripura Assembly election results were announced, there were claims and counter-claims by CPM and BJP about violence perpetrated by the other’s supporters.
Addressing the media on Monday, CPM leaders made an “appeal” to the victorious alliance and administration to “curb the violence”. CPM state unit secretary Bijan Dhar said that according to information gathered until 4 pm on Monday, 514 workers and supporters of the party had been “physically attacked”, 1,539 homes of workers and supporters had been vandalised, 196 homes set on fire, 134 party offices vandalised, 64 offices burnt, and 208 offices “forcibly occupied” by supporters of BJP and alliance partner IPFT.
But BJP’s state unit vice-president Subal Bhowmik accused the CPM of targeting BJP workers. “Forty-nine of our workers have been attacked since the results were declared. Of them, 17 have been hospitalised. Some have been taken to Kolkata and others admitted to hospitals in Agartala.”
Challenging the CPM to show “even one of their workers who has been attacked”, he said, “Their accusations are an attempt to defame the BJP. We want peace so we can begin our work of developing the state.”
“Cases (of violence) include arson at two CPM offices in Sidhai area in West Tripura district, and clashes between CPM and BJP supporters at Kadamtala in North Tripura district,” SP (Control) Pradip De said, according to PTI. He said there had been no arrest yet.
Dhar accused BJP and IPFT supporters of vandalising 38 trade union offices and offices of other frontal organisations, and forcibly capturing 90 trade union offices. “Party leaders who have won have been threatened…even party sympathisers have been attacked.”
CPM spokesperson Gautam Das said the attacks must stop ahead of the Class X and XII Board exams that begin in Tripura on Tuesday. “We know of cases where even students homes have been attacked. We appeal to the ruling party to ensure that students are able to take exams,” Das said.
Jitendra Choudhury, South Tripura MP and tribal leader, said, “In Mandwai, 400-500 BJP-IPFT workers attacked various offices and set shops on fire. Some of these shops belonged to Left workers and sympathisers but many burnt belonged to those who supported them (NDA).”
Dhar said, “This is an appeal to the ruling party and the administration: please curb these attacks…. A reporter told me that apparently every time the CPM won (in the past), our workers carried out similar violence. I deny this. And if there were sporadic incidents, we took care of these cases within the party and took action against those involved.”