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Citizenship bill: Former Tripura CM Manik Sarkar says police action on protesters unnecessary

Most people affected by violence at Madhabbari said they sustained losses in lakhs since their shops were gutted during clashes. However, local administration provided a maximum of Rs. 10 thousand as compensation.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
January 14, 2019 2:33:28 pm
Citizenship bill: Former Tripura CM Manik Sarkar says police action on protesters unnecessary Manik Sarkar today visited Madhabbari, National Institute of Technology (NIT) and other areas in Jirania, 15 km from Agartala, where police issued lathi charge (Express Photo)

Tripura opposition leader Manik Sarkar Monday criticized police action on citizenship bill protesters at Madhabbari in West Tripura last week saying firing upon protesters was not necessary.

“A lot of shops and houses were burnt, damaged in Madhabbari and other areas in Jirania sub-division. People, especially women, are traumatized. All those shot (by police) during the protest, except one, sustained bullet injuries on their back, indicating they were running away. I think firing on them was perhaps not necessary”, Sarkar told reporters.

Manik Sarkar today visited Madhabbari, National Institute of Technology (NIT) and other areas in Jirania, 15 km from Agartala, where police issued lathi charge, burst tear gas cells and fired upon citizenship bill protesters on January 08.

Most people affected by violence at Madhabbari said they sustained losses in lakhs since their shops were gutted during clashes. However, local administration provided a maximum of Rs. 10 thousand as compensation. Manik Sarkar declined to comment on the proposed citizenship amendment bill, which is now waiting for Rajya Sabha nod.

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However, he reiterated demand of a judicial enquiry on the Madhabbari incident by a sitting judge of the High Court.

Earlier on Friday, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb ordered a magisterial enquiry into the Madhabbari clashes. However, ruling tribal ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and other tribal regional parties like Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT), National Conference of Tripura (NCT), Tipraland State Party (TSP) etc. have demanded a judicial probe into the incident.

Six tribal parties held a 12-hour strike in Tripura ADC areas on Saturday demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb over police firing on protesters.

NESO called 11 hour strike on Tuesday across North-east India. Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF), a NESO partner, set up blockade at Madhbabari in West Tripura district as part of the strike. Few local shops were set ablaze amidst the agitation and police resorted to lathi charge, burst tear gas cells and fire at the picketers when the situation turned unruly. Fifteen persons were injured in the police action including three who sustained bullet injuries.

NESO chief advisor Samujjwal Bhattacharyya visited Tripura on Thursday and condemned the police action. He demanded a judicial probe on the issue.

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