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Tripura post-poll violence: 3 deaths reported; BJP and Oppn engage in blame game

At least three persons have died in the post-election violence in Tripura, including two murders and a suicide.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
Updated: May 29, 2019 1:58:00 am
Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb, violence in Tripura, Tripura violence, Tripura elections, Tripura violence, Tripura BJP, Indian express CPM says attacks by BJP cadre, ruling party claims workers of other parties maligning its image. (Photo for representation)

While the Lok Sabha election results brought cheer to many, 65-year-old Swarna Das of Tripura’s Rajarbandh village, 20 km from Agartala city, was grieving. The day after the counting, her eldest son Shibu Das (20) was killed in post-poll violence at Banikya Chowmuhani area of West Tripura.

Many like Swarna have alleged widespread violence in various parts of Tripura since the results were announced.

A widow and mother of three, Swarna claimed her son fell victim to some BJP workers who joined a group of CPI(M) cadres to kill her son.

“My son was very active in the BJP even before the party formed the state government in 2018. He went to a friend’s house on May 24 night and did not return. Hearing he was attacked, I ran to the hospital at 1 am. Some seven hours later, he died on my lap,” she told The Indian Express.

READ | BJP supporter murdered in Tripura, party alleges Congress, CPI(M) role

Rajarbandh is a village of 200-odd families near Bodhjungnagar Industrial Growth Centre. The industrial estate houses 78 units ranging from food products to surgical thread manufacturing companies, but Rajarbandh has not seen its fair share of development so far. Most of the residents live in mud-walled or thatched huts and do odd jobs.

Swarna’s husband Shankar Das died an alcoholic, one and a half years ago. Since then, Shibu was taking care of the family’s finances. Her younger sons Shyamu and Ramu have quit school and are now looking for jobs.

She said she wanted justice for her son and severe punishment for the killers.

Bodhjungnagar police station officer in-charge Subrata Barman said the murder was an act of retribution by some villagers since Shibu and his friends were known to be a nuisance.

“We received an FIR from the family. Whoever killed him should not have taken law in his hands. Law will take its course. But investigation suggests the deceased was a nuisance for the locality. A group of local people were looking to take on him. They got the chance on May 24,” Barman said. One Mithun Debnath alias Marka and eight others were booked for Shibu’s murder.

At least three persons have died in the post-election violence in Tripura, including two murders and a suicide. A duty officer from Tripura Police headquarters said that around 100 cases of violence were registered in the state since May 23. He could not give figures on the related arrests.

Last Friday, Biju Bhowmik, a BJP supporter, was allegedly killed at Fatikcherra of West Tripura district. Also, one Rabi Paul, 60, from Muhuripur village of South Tripura, was reportedly served an extortion notice of Rs 3 lakh for the BJP’s “victory celebrations”. Unable to pay it off, Paul hanged himself two days ago, Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar said.

The CPI(M) has claimed communist party supporters are under attack from BJP. “Since Lok Sabha results were announced, at least 209 cases of attacks against Left leaders, supporters, arson and ransacking were reported across the state. Nobody was arrested,” CPI(M) central committee member Bijan Dhar told reporters. Tripura CPI(M) state secretary Goutam Das’s residence was reportedly attacked on May 23 night.

The Congress has created a crisis fund for people injured in post-poll violence. Tripura Congress president Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburman personally donated Rs 10 lakh for it. “We have appealed everyone to donate in the crisis fund to assist our supporters who are injured in attacks by BJP. We are getting a good response,” Congress leader Tapas Dey said.

The party said that more than 550 people were rendered homeless in post-poll violence in Tripura in the last five days. It said it would soon file a petition in the Supreme Court demanding compensation for people injured in the violence.

The BJP, meanwhile, claimed that its supporters were under attack from CPI(M) and Congress workers and a section of “new entrants” in the BJP.

“A BJP karyakarta was murdered at Banikya Chowmuhani area. We are getting reports of CPI(M) activists and some new entrants in BJP being behind the incident. We have not given these new entrants party membership. They are posing as BJP. Two of our supporters have been murdered. Over 25 karyakartas were injured in violence,” BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said.

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, who is in Delhi with Pratima Bhowmik and Rebati Tripura, the newly elected MPs from the state, has instructed police to take strong action against those who take law in their hands.

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