Criticising the foundation of a Ram temple at Matai village in South Tripura district by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Sanatan Sena, a Hindutva outfit, the CPI (M) claimed the foundation stone was laid by removing a previous memorial of a communist and tribal rights martyr.
“BJP vice-president Subal Bhowmik and one Mrinal Sen, chief of Sanatan Sena’s Tripura chapter, have removed the memorial and laid the foundation stone for a Ram Mandir. There are many temples in the vicinity including Buda Kali Mandir, a very old temple, which has history in Bangladesh and erstwhile East Pakistan. Foundation stone for this Ram Mandir was laid simply to erase the history of left democratic struggle”, CPI (M) state leader Tapas Dutta told indianexpress.com on Thursday.
Dutta, Deputy Opposition Leader Badal Choudhury, communist veteran Basudeb Majumder and others later registered a complaint with Belonia police station and also wrote to the district magistrate seeking reinstatement of the removed memorial stone.
However, South Tripura Superintendent of Police Jal Singh Meena said he wasn’t aware of any such incident.
“I don’t know of any incident where a memorial was replaced by a temple’s foundation stone”, the official told this correspondent
Asked about the issue, Bhowmik said that communists illegally grabbed land of a local person to build their memorial structure.
“There was no voice of common people in 25 years of Left Front rule. This land was grabbed by CPI (M). Real owner of the land was present with us on the dais when we laid the foundation stone for Ram Mandir at Matai”, Bhowmik claimed.
The BJP leader also said his party wants ‘Ram Rajya’ or good governance. “Ram Mandir shall be built there”, he stated.
Tribal people in Tripura traditionally practice ‘jhum’ or shifting cultivation for their food and sustenance. The then Congress-led state government prohibited jhum cultivation in forest lands in 1968, following which a group of tribal women led by Mohini Tripura put up resistance against government actions. Mohini Tripura was gunned down on March 17, 1968 during the protests.
After the first Left Front government led by former chief minister late Nripen Chakraborty came to power in 1978, a village, a school and a community centre were dedicated to the memory of late Mohini Tripura.
A memorial was also built at Matai village in Belonia sub-division of Tripura’s south district. This memorial was reportedly replaced by foundation stone for Ram Mandir after the landowner said his land was grabbed by CPI (M).
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