Violence in Tripura after BJP win; Lenin statue toppled, Section 144 in several areas

Updated on Mar 06, 2018 06:10 PM IST

The BJP and CPM have blamed each other for the clashes that have broken out just days after the Narendra Modi-led party swept the Left out of power in Tripura after a 25-year reign.

Statue of Lenin being demolished at Belonia town in South Tripura on Monday with the help of a bulldozer.(HT photo)
Statue of Lenin being demolished at Belonia town in South Tripura on Monday with the help of a bulldozer.(HT photo)
Hindustan Times, Agartala | By

The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have blamed each other for the violence that erupted in Tripura after the BJP swept to power in the north-eastern state on March 3 ending 25 years of Left rule.

Section 144, which prohibits assembly of more than five people, was in place in many areas and police had arrested the driver of the payloader used to topple a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Belonia in South Tripura on Monday.

“People of the area wanted to erect statues of national heroes like Swami Vivekananda, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and Mother Teresa instead of Lenin since long. Whatever happened in Belonia is the outcome of public fury,” BJP spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty said.

The party, however, has denied its workers were involved in the demolition job.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the governor and director general of police on Tuesday morning to ensure peace in the state, where the new government is expected to be sworn in on March 8. This came after governor Tathagata Roy tweeted, “What one democratically elected government can do another democratically elected government can undo. And vice versa.”

“We have arrested the driver and seized the bulldozer last evening,” South Tripura superintendent of police Manchak Ipper said on Tuesday.

Asish Pal is a resident of Udaipur in Gomati district and was hired by bulldozer owner Suman Majumder.

In a video clip, which has been shared widely on social media, a mob can be heard chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai as the statue falls.

Police sources said a victory procession was being carried out by the BJP when a group broke out and directed the bulldozer to the statue.

As Section 144, clamped in some parts of West District on Monday, was extended by a day, the victor and the vanquished blamed each other for the clashes. BJP state vice president Subal Bhowmik said around 49 party activists were injured, blaming the CPM for the violence.

“Even police from the lower ranks were working at the behest of CPM. After taking oath of office, we will take stern action against the people involved in violence,” Bhowmik said.

CPM state secretary Bijan Dhar alleged some 514 party workers and supporters were injured in more than 1,000 incidents of violence in which 196 house and 64 party offices were also vandalised.

Along with the change in the government, Tripura is expected to see a new education policy and streets with new names.

“The education policy will change totally. National leaders’ histories that are missing in school syllabus would be introduced. There would a small chapter on the Marxist rulers too,” BJP state in-charge Sunil Deodhar said.

The Left government, too, had made similar changes. It replaced Indian history from Class 9 books with Russian Revolution and French Revolution.

The history book talks about birth of cricket in England, Nazism and rise of Adolf Hitler and history of agriculture. The only national icon to find mention is Mahatma Gandhi and that, too, for his views on cricket.

There is a plan to rename the roads and the Marx-Engels Sarani Lane in the capital tops the list. The lane leads to the houses of outgoing chief minister Manik Sarkar and his ministerial colleagues.

One of the party’s poll promises is to name the Agartala airport after Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Deb Burman, the state’s last rulers.

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