December 1, 2021 9:43:41 pm
Opposition leader Manik Sarkar, his deputy Badal Choudhury and a few others booked for allegedly violating Covid-19 guidelines during a political gathering held in August last year, were granted bail by a local court on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters after getting a bail from the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court here on Wednesday afternoon, Sarkar said he recently received a notice to appear before the court on December 1.
Along with Sarkar and Choudhury, former minister Manik Dey, former MP Shankar Prasad Dutta and CPI(M) leaders Goutam Das, Madhusudan Das, Krishna Rakshit and Rana Das, among others, were booked in the case registered at West Agartala Police station.
Apart from former Tripura CPI(M) secretary Goutam Das, who passed away after contracting Covid-19 earlier this year, all other accused were present in the court on Wednesday.
Sarkar said they organised the gathering as police declined to give them permission for a rally.
“We did not get permission to hold a rally, so we instead organised a gathering. I was called to speak there. After I made my speech, a police officer reached the spot and told us that we would be arrested as our gathering was illegal. Police didn’t have vehicles to detain nearly 3,000 people who gathered there. So, they didn’t detain us then,” Sarkar said.
The state unit of the CPI(M) had last year organised an event as part of the party’s nationwide programme demanding Rs 7,500 monthly allowance and 10 kg rice or wheat per head in a month for poor households. The party had also urged the government to bear the medical bills of people affected by the pandemic.
Sarkar claimed that the case filed against them was “directed”, suggesting that the police were acting under political pressure. He said, “We were granted bail from the court. The government will not be able to hide its failures anymore. They will have to work for the people.”
The former chief minister alleged that the government was trying to silence Opposition voices by filing “illegal cases” instead of ensuring work, food and democratic rights for the people.
Speaking to reporters, Assistant Public Prosecutor Bidyut Sutradhar said, “They (Left leaders) were asked to appear before the court today after a chargesheet was filed against them by the investigating officer. They requested bail and we opposed it with specific arguments. The court has granted them bail, executing PR bond of Rs 30,000 and a surety.”
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