A 24-hour Tripura Bandh called Thursday by the Youth Congress against the alleged police atrocities on their anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill rally yesterday passed off peacefully with 131 picketers detained by police, as per latest reports.
The bandh evoked mixed response among people. While traders kept their shutters down throughout the day, there wasn’t much traffic movement on the streets. All passenger trains, including express mails like Tripura-Anand Vihar Tripurasundari Express, were cancelled. However, all flights barring an IndiGo flight in Agartala-Guwahati route remained fully functional at Maharaja Bir Bikram Airport.
As the Bill was finally passed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, making way for the new citizenship rules to be implemented, Tripura Youth Congress Thursday held a 24-hour Tripura Bandh in protest against police action on their rally against CAB rally last evening.
State Congress vice president Tapas Dey said the strike passed peacefully sans few scattered incidents of violence. Youth Congress leader Santanu Saha, Amit Saha and few others were wounded in what Dey described as an attack by BJP workers in order to create unrest and derail the strike.
“BJP has tried to instigate our boys and derail the strike. Two of our youth Congress leaders were injured. We have filed an FIR with the police. Our agitation against CAB will continue though it has been passed in the Parliament,” Dey told indianexpress.com.
BJP Yuba Morcha leader Vikki Prasad denied the allegations and said the saffron youth wing activists were attacked by Congress instead. A counter FIR was filed by Yuba Morcha workers against some Youth Congress supporters who served as picketers during strike hours today.
A duty officer from Tripura Police headquarters informed this correspondent that Tripura State Rifles (TSR), Tripura Police and Assam Rifles jawans were deployed in different parts of the state to handle untoward situations.
The official said no incidents of violence occurred during strike hours in the state. At least 131 picketers were arrested from West Tripura, Sipahijala, Dhalai and North Tripura districts till latest reports came in.
North Tripura Superintendent of Police Bhanupada Chakraborty said flag marches and other confidence-building measures are being done at Kanchanpur, Satnala, Dasda, Anandabazaar and other places which witnessed tension during anti-CAB strike.
“Situation is absolutely under control. We have Assam Rifles, TSR, Tripura Police personnel doing flag march and other confidence-building measures. There was no disturbance anywhere in the district today,” Chakraborty said.
Dhalai district police superintendent Kishore Debbarma said Assam Rifles, state police and TSR jawans are engaged in confidence-building initiatives.
Bisramganj and parts of Sipahijala district, which witnessed pitched violence during anti-CAB strike yesterday, were put under a thick blanket of security.
While police said 15 picketers were detained in West Tripura district, state Youth Congress president Pujan Biswas claimed nearly 150 supporters were taken away by security personnel while agitating in support of the strike.
For a state that has seen tribals relegated to a minority with just 31 per cent indigenous population today from a staggering majority in the 1940s, Tripura has naturally been a hotbed of protests against Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to religiously persecuted people from minority communities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (JMACAB), a joint forum of three tribal political parties and few tribal civil society bodies, held indefinite Tripura Bandh for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, which was the last in a long line of consecutive strikes and agitations against CAB in the past few weeks.
The indefinite strike was called off last night following a dialogue with Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who assured the agitating leaders to arrange a second round of discussion with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the CAB issue.
A series of strikes were called by different parties against the legislation since December 2. Tripura Central University has suspended all examinations till December 14. Maharaja Bir Bikram University, the only state-university of Tripura, has suspended examinations till December 13 in the light of repeated strikes.