Nearly five months after he was arrested under the National Security Act (NSA), a BJP leader from Jirania sub-division in West Tripura was released on Wednesday midnight.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Keshab Sarkar alleged that he went behind bars because of a political conspiracy hatched against him by his own party workers.
“A political conspiracy was hatched against me by some of my own party workers. They wanted BJP to lose in Jirania constituency in 2018 state assembly elections. I, on the other hand, stood with the party’s decision and worked extensively in campaigns. Out of anguish for failing in their plot, a group of leaders conspired against me and misinformed Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb against me,” Sarkar alleged.
On October 9 last year, the 37-year-old political worker was detained under the NSA, triggering allegations of political conspiracy from his family. Sarkar, who was engaged as a contractor, has a long history of political activism and was associated with the Congress till 2016. He joined the Trinamool Congress the same year before he shifted his allegiance to BJP in 2017.
Sarkar’s arrest elicited sharp criticism from BJP MLA Sushanta Choudhury, who said the detainee was an “anti-Left soldier” for long.
A division bench of the High Court of Tripura, comprising of Chief Justice Sanjoy Karol and Justice Subhashish Talapatra, ordered to release Sarkar on Wednesday. Sarkar’s counsel Pijush Kanti Biswas said he was wrongly detained for all this time since the authorities didn’t consider representation from the accused.
“We submitted representation from the side of the accused shortly after he was arrested. But the authorities didn’t even consider it. It was wrong. So, we filed a petition with the High Court. The honourable court has granted our argument and ordered to release the arrestee,” Biswas said.
Meanwhile, people in the family say they are happy with Sarkar’s release. His mother Sandhyarani Sarkar said she is happy and satisfied with the court’s verdict. His brother Samiran Sarkar expressed gratitude to the high court for freeing Keshab.
A much-thinner Sarkar said he too is happy to be free again. “I was kept at Bishalgarh Central Jail. The authorities didn’t oppress me in any way. But I was behind bars for no crime of mine. I was a victim of political conspiracy,” he said.
However, he says he would not leave BJP anytime soon. “I have been fighting CPI (M) all my life. Filing a defamation suit against the BJP-led government would give them political leverage. I will never do it,” Sarkar said. He also said he has come to peace with the faction of BJP, which engineered his arrest.
“They wanted to remove me from the scene. It was a political vendetta. I am hurt but I have put it behind me. The CM was also misinformed about me. All this was unfortunate,” he added.
Before Sarkar, Ranjit Debbarma, chief of outlawed All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), was arrested and charged with NSA in 2013. The insurgent leader was wanted for mass murders, abductions, waging war against India, conspiracies and other crimes.