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HC takes suo motu cognizance of violence in Tripura, asks govt to file affidavit by Nov 10

The high court commended the state government’s efforts in restoring peace and order, but said more steps are necessary and suggested the formation of peace committees

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
Updated: October 30, 2021 1:35:16 pm
Hindu Jagaran Mancha, Viswa Hindu Parishad and other organisations take out protest rally at Dharmanagar in North Tripura. (Express photo)

Three days after reports of vandalism at Panisagar in North Tripura district, the High Court of Tripura directed the state government Friday to submit an affidavit by November 10 on measures taken to ensure peace in the region.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Subhashish Talapatra, based on media reports, took suo motu cognizance of the violence in North Tripura district on October 26 as well as recent incidents which allegedly occurred at Unakoti and Sepahijala districts.

In his submission, Advocate General Siddhartha Shankar Dey informed the court that necessary police arrangements had been made for a rally organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) at Panisagar in North Tripura on October 26 against vandalism of Durga Puja pandals and Hindu temples in Bangladesh.

The high court commended the state government’s efforts in restoring peace and order, but said more steps are necessary. It recommended the formation of peace committees not only at district levels, but also at sub-divisional levels and, if necessary, panchayat levels as well. It called upon all political parties to fully participate in the peace process.

The advocate general stated that “some clash” took place between two communities during the protest march, following which allegations and counter allegations were made at local police stations. The allegations include the burning down of three shops and damaging three houses belonging to people from the minority community. There were also allegations regarding damage to a local mosque, property theft and outraging the modesty of women. In a counter-complaint, it was alleged that threats and abuses were directed against VHP’s protest rally and that the peaceful march was attacked. Investigation is in progress in both cases, the advocate general informed the court.

He added that large gatherings of members from the minority community were found at various places in Unakoti and North Tripura district, which was dispersed by active deployment, persuasion and imposition of Section 144 in the area.

The AG’s affidavit said peace meetings were organised at Dharmanagar and Panisagar of North Tripura, Amtali of West Tripura, as well as Kulubari and Laxman Dhepa of Sepahijala district to maintain peace and stop the spread of fake news. Misinformation was being spread on social media with photos and videos of incidents from outside the state or other countries to disturb communal harmony, the affidavit said, adding that the state police has deployed additional security personnel including at religious places, held peace meetings and increased mobile patrolling to maintain peace.

As per the state government, five more cases were registered at Kakraban police station in Gomati district, Melaghar and Sepahijala police stations at Sepahijala district, and Takarjala and East Agartala police stations in West Tripura since the vandalism in Bangladesh. Two persons were detained in these cases and notices issued against two others.

The court asked the state government to file an affidavit on the stages of investigation of the various cases and inform the court if any accused was apprehended. It also took into notice Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s announcement of compensation to people affected by the violence, and directed the government to take urgent action in this regard so that those affected can restore their livelihoods at the earliest.

The bench also instructed the administration to take appropriate action against any rumour-mongering on social media. The case will be heard again on November 12.

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