Rumour of woman’s abduction sparks violence in Tripura, 30 cops hurt

More than 100 villagers attacked a police station with sticks and stones. The woman was found at her home in Raishyabari village, about 100 km west of Agartala, more than 17 hours after her “abduction”.

india Updated: Aug 01, 2017 21:39 IST
Tripura,Police attack,Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura
Violence erupted following a rumour that a tribal woman was abducted near Agartala.(ANI Photo/ Twitter)

Villagers near Tripura capital Agartala on Tuesday clashed with police over the abduction of a woman that turned out to be a rumour. The clash, threatening to acquire a political colour, left some 30 policemen injured.

Trouble started brewing at Bodhjungnagar village, about 12km from Agartala, Monday night when a woman allegedly went missing. She had apparently come to the village to collect money from her husband, a Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawan.

Another TSR jawan named Rabindra Debbarma had accompanied her to Bodhjungnagar. But the two got separated on the way, prompting Debbarma to lodge a complaint at the local police station saying she had been abducted.

Soon after, a rumour that a tribal woman has been abducted spread across the village with mixed population. All hell broke loose on Tuesday morning with more than 100 villagers attacking the police station with sticks and stones.

The police fired tear gas shells and cane-charged the mob. But they were soon outnumbered and about 30 policemen including the officer in-charge were injured. Some policemen were from the barracks nearby.

The mob also ransacked a TSR-run canteen and some industrial units at the Bodhjungnagar Industrial Growth Centre.

“Section 144 (restriction on the gathering of four or more people) had to be imposed after the police station and many vehicles were damaged. Things quietened when it was later discovered the woman was not kidnapped at all,” West Tripura district superintendent of police Abhijit Saptarshi told HT.

The woman was found at her home in Raishyabari village, about 100 km west of Agartala, more than 17 hours after her “abduction”.

Saptarshi blamed the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), which is spearheading a statehood movement, for the chaos. The angry mob, he said, was headed by an IPFT activist named Bimal Debbarna.

IPFT chief NC Debbarma denied his party’s involvement in the violence. “There might be some supporters of IPFT or even the (ruling) CPM, but that does not mean our party was involved. Moreover, we had de-recognised Bimal Debbarma as a party member,” he said.

The woman at the centre of the unrest later said she lost her way and one of the families at Bodhjungnagar gave her shelter for the night. Early Tuesday morning, she left for her home at Raishyabari without the knowledge of the TSR jawan who had accompanied her.

The woman later told the police that she had intended to go to South Tripura district’s Bishramganj, some 30km from Agartala, but ended up at Bodhjungnagar. Her husband is posted at TSR’s 11th Battalion at Bishramganj.

First Published: Aug 01, 2017 21:24 IST