June 1, 2021 10:03:52 pm
A day after Tripura MLA and former finance minister Bhanulal Saha asked youths to take up “niramis astra” (literally, ‘vegetarian weapons’) to defend themselves against purported political attacks, the state BJP Tuesday accused him of instigating party workers to violence. Saha was also booked for his comments, in a case filed by a BJP Yuva Morcha leader.
“Keep sticks, iron pipes, etc. handy, women, men, teenagers all, in every house for mass resistance of their bricks, kicks, petrol bombs. Gather courage to face outsider attackers. It’s not a crime to pick up things for self defence. It’s impossible to protect life and property without resistance. O youth, turn into fire. Hundreds-thousands of youths, be ready. Resist lumpens and ruling party goons with courage. Join people from the locality and be in leadership,” Saha had written in a post on his Facebook page a day before.
Bhanulal Saha was a member of the Manik Sarkar cabinet and held key portfolios of finance, Information and Cultural Affairs.
Protesting his statement, BJP general secretary Papiya Dutta Tuesday said, “The former minister’s statement implies they stayed in power for 25 years with the reign of terror. Their thirst for power has forced them to resort to their old tactics again. We condemn such statements from a person who has been a minister, a teacher. This is not welcome at all.”
She also alleged that CPIM’s stint in power from 1978 to 2018 was riding on violence, even when they were out of power in 1988-1993. “There is no political murder in Tripura since BJP-IPFT alliance formed the government three years back. CPM is trying to confuse people with these instigations for violence,” the leader said.
Meanwhile, BJP Yuva Morcha leader Nabadul Banik lodged a complaint against Bhanulal Saha at Bishalgarh Police Station on Monday. BJP spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty told reporters that legal action would be taken against CPM leaders, including former party secretary Bijan Dhar, former Lok Sabha MP Jitendra Chaudhury and others, for making provocative statements.
Bhanulal Saha’s social media post came amidst allegations of attacks from BJP supporters on houses of many Left supporters and leaders. The party said in a statement on Sunday that Left supporters who went to distribute aids and sanitise some areas as part of Covid relief came under attack from goons backed by the ruling party.
“It is being alleged by locals that these attacks are being perpetrated under the leadership of a driver of an MLA. Our state secretariat committee is surprised how ruling party goons came on motorcycles and cars to carry out these attacks while curfew was in progress,” CPIM state office secretary Haripada Das said in the statement.
CPIM Rajya Sabha MP Jharna Das Baidya met Governor RK Bais on Monday and handed him a memorandum with reports of such alleged attacks in the previous 48 hours. The memorandum claimed many of these incidents took place in the presence of police and sought assurances to take necessary steps in registering cases on the alleged incidents, providing safety to the attacked families and ensuring free and fair movement of opposition party supporters.
MP Das Baidya later said in a statement that she was assured by the Governor that the issue would be discussed with Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar and Director General of Police VS Yadav.
On the alleged political attacks, Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar wrote in a social media post, “If violating curfew is not illegal for attackers, why would curfew apply on people resisting it?
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