A clash between Tripura’s ruling BJP and Opposition Congress workers Thursday at Bishalgarh in Sepahijala district left several injured, including a police constable.
While the two political parties have claimed that at least 30 people have been injured, the police are yet to give out a number. Till late Thursday evening, the local police station was busy handling a ‘gherao’ by BJP workers.
The two groups got into a scuffle allegedly because BJP workers were trying to stop Congress workers from proceeding for a political meeting.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Additional Director General of Police Rajiv Singh said the incident took place around noon. “They clashed among each other over staging a road blockade. Police personnel from the Bishalgarh police station intervened and issued a mild lathi charge to disperse the mob. During the process, some people from both sides were injured. A police constable sustained head injuries,” the ADG said.
The police have registered a suo motu case at Bishalgarh police station over the injury to the constable on duty. He is being treated and is out of danger, officials said.
BJP and Congress are yet to lodge complaints on the incident, though both have accused the police of use of violent force.
West Tripura Lok Sabha MP and Tripura BJP vice president Pratima Bhowmik said at least 15 BJP workers were injured in the scuffle.
“Congress workers attacked our party supporters and we had to retaliate for our safety. The police started lathi charge, wounding at least 15 BJP activists,” Bhowmik claimed.
The MP also accused the Congress of organising a big political meeting amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “Our state government had to observe the birth anniversary of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Debbarma, architect of modern Tripura, and former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in a low-key manner due to the pandemic. How did Congress end up gathering so many people?”
She said BJP workers want suspension of police officers who ‘deliberately’ used force on them, and demanded that the state government and the Director General of Police institute an inquiry commission into the incident.
Tripura Congress vice president Tapas Dey claimed his party workers came under attack from saffron activists on their way to a political event in Agartala.
“Congress supporters from Belonia, Sabrom and Amarpur were on their way to Agartala to attend a meeting at Congress Bhawan. They were stopped at Bishalgarh by BJP goons. We sought help from the police and spoke to Sephijala police superintendent and DGP in-charge, but they were mute spectators. So we had to react when we came under attack,” Dey said.
He said four Congress supporter were badly wounded, among many others, and are under treatment at the Govind Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital. Some are being treated at Bishalgarh Hospital.
The Congress leader claimed the BJP carried out the assault as they are “losing ground and becoming increasingly unpopular”.
Like BJP, the Congress too demanded action against the police personnel who used lathi charge on the political workers.