All Assam Students Union (AASU) Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya Friday visited several parts of Tripura and criticised police firing on Citizenship Bill protesters at Madhabbari near Khumulwng in West Tripura saying an “Emergency situation” is prevailing in the state.
North East Students’ Organization (NESO) had called ‘North East Bandh’ on January 8 in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was later passed in the Lok Sabha. Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF), which is a partner of NESO in Tripura, set up blockade on National Highway 8 at Madhbabari in West Tripura as part of the strike. Shortly after the stir began, some of the local shops were set on fire. In order to control mob, police issued lathi charge, burst tear gas cells and discharged “blank fires”. Three agitators sustained bullet wounds and many others were injured during the police action.
Samujjal Bhattacharyya, who is also chief advisor of NESO, today told reporters in a press conference in Agartala that Citizenship Amendment Bill is communal and the student body would continue to agitate on the subject.
“We met Home Minister, Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and requested them to visit NE India before placing their recommendations on citizenship bill. None from JPC visited any NE state and submitted the report. It is a half-report and we have rejected it. North East India is not dumping ground for illegal immigrants”, Bhattacharyya said.
The NESO chief advisor arrived in Agartala on Thursday evening. He strongly criticised police action on protesters during Madhabbari clashes and said the law enforcement agencies took “barbaric” steps.
He also alleged that an ambulance carrying wounded protesters was stopped by Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawans, who damaged the vehicle and beat up injured patients.
A NESO delegation headed by Bhattacharyya visited injured protesters admitted at Govind Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital in Agartala. They also tried to visit those admitted in Khumulwng Hospital but were halted midway by police, who denied them entry into scheduled areas.
“Emergency situation is going on in Tripura. Section 144 is imposed in Jirania. But we are leaders from NE India who have come to spread message of peace. This is a very negative signal. We will come again. We appeal the state government to behave democratically. This is India and nobody can stop us from visiting any part of it peacefully”, he said.
Samujjal Bhattacharyya also criticized the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at centre saying they are trying to “bulldoze” indigenous people of NE India in the name of citizenship bill. He appealed all indigenous political parties of the region to clarify stand on the subject.
NESO chairman Samuel Jyrwa, representatives of the Khasi Students’ Union, Twipra Students Federation (TSF) general secretary Sunil Debbarma and others joined Bhattacharyya today.
Sunil Debbarma said his organization would support Tripura ADC strike called by six tribal political parties tomorrow. The strike was called against police firing and repressive action in citizenship bill protesters. NESO has endorsed the strike as well.