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As TMC seeks rally nod, Section 144 imposed in West Tripura; gatherings prohibited till Diwali end

Tripura HC on Tuesday declined to interfere with the government's decision as it heard TMC's petition seeking permission for holding a rally on Wednesday.

Tripura’s BJP-led government is “scared” of TMC and is trying to block its political activities, says TMC.

A week after Tripura Police rejected two successive pleas of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) seeking permission to hold a rally led by its general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, the state government has imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in West Tripura and said no meeting, procession or public gathering of any political party would not be allowed till November 4. The prohibitory orders came into effect from 6 am today (Tuesday).

Expressing concern at possible violence if political rallies were permitted, the notification issued by West Tripura District Magistrate Rajib Dutta reads, “…It is also reported that supporters of political parties may try to commit mischief and any kind of further violence at Agartala city may result in sporadic clashes between political groups and may seriously affect the law and order situation…”.

The notification was published Monday evening and on Tuesday, Tripura High Court heard a petition of the TMC seeking permission for holding a rally on Wednesday. After hearing counsels of both sides, a single bench of the high court led by Justice Arindam Lodh declined to interfere with the government decision to ban political gatherings until the end of Diwali (November 4).

Justice Arindam Lodh also closed TMC’s petition without granting prayers made in its petition. Advocate General Siddhartha Shankar Dey said on Tuesday, “Court has not worked as the regulatory authority of permitting rallies and processions of political parties till today. The case was closed without grant of the prayers made in the petition”.

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“After hearing the government’s decision, the court heard counsels of the petitioner who argued online from Kolkata and decided not to interfere with the state government’s decision. The court has declined to interfere with the order of imposing Section 144,” the advocate general said

“Sharodotsava (Durga Puja) is one of the prime festivals in Tripura. Covid-19 is on the wane now and so the state government hasn’t obstructed the celebration of Durga Puja, albeit following guidelines. However, there is an apprehension about a third wave. Some unholy forces were raising heads during different political activities in Tripura in the last few weeks. The prohibitory orders for political rallies were imposed since the government does not want any bad experience for people during Sharodotsava,” he said.

Reacting to the high court order and the notification, TMC MP Santanu Sen said, “we don’t want to comment on the court order. But we are with the people on the ground and shall continue to do so in future”. He reiterated that Tripura’s BJP-led government is “scared” of TMC and is trying to block its political activities.

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Meanwhile, TMC Bengal general secretary Kunal Ghosh was learnt to have got sick during questioning by the Tripura Police in connection with a case of political violence, booked in Khowai district a few weeks back. He is under treatment at ILS Hospitals in Agartala.

First published on: 21-09-2021 at 18:06 IST
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