A mosque and a few shops were vandalised and two shops set on fire at Panisagar sub-division in North Tripura, 155 km from here, during a VHP rally Tuesday evening against recent vandalisation of Durga Puja pandals in Bangladesh.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Panisagar Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Soubhik Dey said a VHP protest rally of around 3,500 people was organised in Panisagar. “A section of VHP activists at the rally ransacked a mosque in the Chamtilla area. Later, three houses and three shops were ransacked and two shops set on fire in the Rowa Bazar area, around 800 yards away from the first incident,” the official said.
The ransacked houses and gutted shops belong to members of the minority community and a case is being registered based on a complaint from one of them, said the police.
Heavy security has been deployed in all the sensitive areas in the vicinity to avoid further deterioration of the law and order situation, the official added.
Narayan Das, a Bajrang Dal leader from Panisagar who was part of today’s rally, told indianexpress.com, “The VHP had organised a protest rally at Panisagar area today. We gathered at Panisagar motorstand and were scheduled to walk through different areas, including Chamtilla, Rowa, Jalebasha, etc., and return to the point of start. After we came near Rowa, we found some youths standing in front of a mosque hurling abuses at us. They were armed with dao and other weapons. They chanted Pakistan Zindabad and religious slogans. Some sporadic incidents occurred owing to their provocation.”
Das said he suspects a section of the administration wanted the situation to go out of control and deliberately didn’t deploy sufficient security personnel for the rally.
BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said he wasn’t aware of the incident but said he believed police would take the required action.
CPIM state leader Pabitra Kar said, “Such incidents are occurring in Tripura after violence happened in Bangladesh. These things are being orchestrated by the BJP. Tripura is known for communal peace and harmony. The state government should make sure communal harmony and peace is maintained here.”
Last Friday, the Tripura State Jamiat Ulama (Hind) submitted a memorandum to the office of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, alleging attacks on mosques and minority habitations in the past three days.
A senior Tripura Police officer said while there had been “a few stray disturbances”, there was no major incident of law and order. “We are providing security to nearly 150 mosques,” the officer said, confirming vandalism at a mosque near Agartala. He said they were investigating the incidents and analysing CCTV footage.