Vol. XLII No. 32 August 12, 2018

Fact Finding Team Visits Tripura

Haripada Das

AN eight-member fact finding team, consisting of members of parliament, national leaders of kisan movement and eminent leader of the Alliance for People’s movement Medha Patkar, called Democracy the first casualty under the five months rule of the BJP-IPFT alliance in Tripura.

The team members addressed a press conference in Agartala on August 5, after two days of hectic schedule, visiting different places in the state covering six of the eight districts. The members said that what is going on in this state is nothing but a planned drive for annihilation of the opposition parties.

The team remarked that Tripura has been made a laboratory that experiments on ways to strangulate dissenting voices and destroy the multi-party democratic system of the country. This danger is imminent to be extended to the entire country, if the secular democratic forces are not alerted, they pointed.  

The fact finding team travelled in two groups with the starting point at Agartala, on August 4. The first group comprised Medha Patkar, and MPs Jharna Das Baidya and Jitendra Chowdhury. They visited Maharani of Gomati district, Ramnagar, Hatimatha and Nalichhara of Dhalai district and Mungiakami of Khowai district and Khamtingbari and various places of Jirania of West Tripura district. Most of the places visited by this group were tribal areas.

The second group had MPs KK Ragesh and Sankar Prasad Datta, Ashok Dhawale, president of AIKS, Rajaram Singh, general secretary of All India Kisan Mahasabha, and Narayan Kar, former MP and AIKS state secretary. They visited Boxanagar, Sonamura of Sepahijala district, Belonia, Subroom and Baikhora of South Tripura district and Murabari of Gomati district.

Both the teams noticed damaged offices of the CPI(M) and CITU attacked by BJP miscreants and demolished by the state government. They also saw remains of many gutted and ransacked houses of the Left Front supporters. The members interacted with villagers at scheduled places.

In Boxanagar, Kalshimura, Belonia  Subroom, Kalachhara, the villagers explained to the members that the new BJP-IPFT government did not provide work for more than four to five days under MNREGA. They said that pension holders are not getting their pension since the new government assumed office and that ration goods are not available due to mismatches in biometric check up.
Many houses of Left supporters were ransacked, vandalised, looted and set afire by the government machinery. They cannot run their businesses, plough their lands and their fisheries were openly looted or poisoned. Their vehicles could not ply on the roads and drinking water pipes in areas with more Left supporters were cut. The rubber gardens belonging to Left supporters were either cut down or set on fire, and huge amounts of money was extorted from them, according to the whims of the BJP-IPFT local leaders. The Left supporters could not even come out to the market place. The BJP miscreants, in short, unleashed a semi-fascist terror and resorted to physical assault on the Left supporters, added the villagers.
At Boxanagar and Sonamura, the minority Muslim villagers expressed their apprehension of communal clashes anytime because of high-pitched Hindutva and anti-Muslim propaganda. There is no scope for lodging police complaints as the police are ordered to stand by the perpetrators.  

At Belonia College Square, the team saw the demolished Lenin statue which was bulldozed by BJP workers on March 5, soon after the electoral victory of the BJP-IPFT alliance.   

The members visited the house of martyr Sukanta Chakraborty, who was lynched by a mob for organising an anti-rumour campaign. Chakraborty’s wife rued the day and said that their family suffered for no fault of theirs. The state chief minister, Biplab Kumar Deb, however, never paid them a visit to console them for their loss, she pointed. She urged the team members to serve her justice and punish her husband’s killers. The fact finding team condoled the relatives of Rakesh Dhar, a youth activist who was found hanging to a rubber tree which the BJP called a case of suicide.  

The members led by Medha Patkar visited Maharani, Hirapur of Udaipur sub-division and Ramagar Kalajhari, Nambucherra, Hatimatha and Boalkhali of Gandachhara sub-division and interacted with villagers.
From Maharani, Medha Patkar collected some remains of ruins of the destroyed Party office. A small trader of Ramnagar said that his sales proceeds do not even touch Rs 500 per day whereas, during Left Front regime, it used to be about Rs 5000-6000 a day.
At Hatimatha, where, few days ago the IPFT miscreants prevented the entry of Manik Sarkar, leader of the opposition, hundreds of villagers gathered to express their anguish.
The villagers of Hatimatha informed the fact finding team that all the schemes under Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) are being implemented by the IPFT workers, elbowing out the elected village committee and Bids and Awards Committee (BAC)