Agartala, Mar 15: Right after bonhomie between Trinamool MLA-elect and the BJP in Manipur, Tripura witnessed pitched battle among BJP and Trinamool Congress on Monday that left over forty injured including party workers from both camp and policemen.
The clashes that started in front of the residence of former Chief Minister Samir Ranjan Barman, soon turned up in front of the West Agartala Police Station where a large contingent of police and Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawans struggled to manage the situation till late evening.
Clashes started at 5 PM on Monday evening when a group of BJP supporters led by the party’s Mandal president Jayanta Dutta were busy welcoming a group of newcomers in the party.
Sandip Roy Barman, brother of TMC leader Sudip Roy Barman objected and allegedly assaulted BJP leader Jayanta Dutta after a brief exchange of heated words.
During the clashes that followed, BJP leaders Subal Bhowmik and Mousumi Bhowmik were injured whole two media persons- Netu Dey and Swapan Dey sustained injuries.
An FIR was registered against Sandip Roy Barman for assaulting BJP supporters. No arrests were made so far.Speaking to TNT, BJP’s Tripura State Observer Sunil Deodhar said, “A group of Trinamool Congress supporters were about to join us. Our mandal president and other party workers went to welcome the new-comers with party flag when a section of hooligans led by Sandip Roy Barman, brother of Trinamool leader Sudip Roy Barman struck.
Deodhar further claimed that the attack was premeditated and completely unprovoked.
When asked about the issue, a duty officer from the West Agartala Police Station said later this evening that the fight started after the harassed BJP Mandal president came back with a large group of BJP supporters.
There was so much fight and the policemen on duty couldn’t simply control it. CRPF and other security personnel had to be called in, Babul Biswas (name changed), a local shopkeeper who was right inside his shop when the incident occurred, recounted.
BJP Pradesh Secretary Amit Rakshit, Mandal President Jayanta Dutta and many others were injured during the brawl.
Following the clash in front of the former CM’s residence near RMS Chowmuhani, a group of BJP supporters reached West Agartala Police Station to file FIR against Sandip Roy Barman. The vicinity of the police station was cordoned by a large troupe of TMC supporters who sought to disrupt the FIR.
In the process, two vehicles were smashed, one of them owned by former MLA and BJP Pradesh Vice President Subal Bhowmik was heavily injured with brick bats thrown by TMC supporters.
Supporters of both parties were seen lashing at each other with bamboo poles bearing respective party flags.
BJP state president Biplab Deb alleged in a statement that the Trinamool Congress were working hand in gloves with the CPI (M) against BJP.
Police officials from the West Agartala Police Station said that a number of Congress supporters in Akhaura road area near Aparupa fast food centre joined BJP recently. They were handed BJP party flags today on the occasion of Holi. A section of the newcomers tried to plant BJP flags in front of Aparupa Bakery late in the afternoon.
A prohibitory order was later imposed in and around the Post Office Chowmuhani to ensure that tension didnt spread any further. The prohibitory orders were later extended to the rest of the district.
Speaking on the issue later tonight, Trinamool Congress president Ashish Kumar Saha said that around 10 party leaders and workers were injured during the clashes today.
They include former Councillor Panna Deb who is still hospitalized in seriously injured condition.
A luxury car run by the BJP local office rammed a few protesters in front of the West Agartala Police Station during the standoff between the two parties in the city. TSR jawans and Trinamool COngress supporters were injured in the hit and run. However, no fatal injuries were reported.
TMC worker Shyam Sharma was severely injured by a racing luxury vehicle, that was allegedly operated by the BJP.
Speaking about his take on the clashes today, TMC president Saha said that BJP was trying to stop other opposition political parties from their activities in the state. “This is a deep conspiracy. We feel that they are having huge money power behind them and are trying to throw threats on workers of other parties in different parts of the state”, he added.
Saha also said recent election results across the country and formation of governments in Manipur and Goa had visibly emboldened the way the saffron brigade was operating in Tripura.
Surprisingly, the TMC leader’s statement had a lot in common with statement of Tripura’s ruling CPI (M) just a few days back when the party’s state secretary Bijan Dhar commented that the victory of BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand would give rise to intolerance and hate politics spewed in the country.
Meanwhile, while covering the clashes in front of the police station, TSR personnel charged two journalists sporting camera on their hands. The incident further sparked off tension and a meeting ensued between leaders of different journalist trade unions and the police officials on the demand of identifying and punishing the culprits for deliberately causing obstruction and posing life-threatening actions to journalists on-duty.
Soon after reports of clashes at Agartala, news of second round of clash at Dharmanagar came in. A group of BJP supporters were found pelting stones and brick bats towards the local Trinamool Congress office here.
A rally led by BJP’s Mandal president Jawhar Chakraborty, Kishan Morchan President Biswajit Deb, Sourabh Goswami and others created ruckus in front of TMC office.
MLA and TMC leader Biswabandhu Sen, who was present inside, was abused at and threatened of dire consequences.
Shortly afterwards, SDPO Jyotishman Das Choudhury, Officer-in-Charge Jayanta Kamakar rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.
According to latest inputs, an FIR was filed by the local Trinamool Congress leadership against four BJP workers.
As far as gauging the pre-electoral understanding is concerned, the Bharatiya Janata party’s strategy in Tripura is very akin to the tactics they have adopted in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
With star-studded glitz and subtle attempts to get their comrades in opposition pissed off enough to lose sense, the saffron camp has ensured that none among the anti-left camp actually mattered when it came to the polls.
The BJP has already announced that it would go alone in the 2018 Tripura assembly elections. Their premature denial of any form of alliance, especially after the return of Modi wave in the national stage has set off distress signals for smaller regional political parties that were eying for a large anti-left alliance.
Veteran political experts have said that the BJP strategy could as well result in division of votes way higher than expected and end in yet another assured victory for the CPI (M). On the flip side, absence of credible opposition beside the BJP and deliberate weakening of home-grown anti-left ideals might as well win the polls for the BJP but would deliberately inflict severe blows to the flavour of multi-party populist democracy in the state.