Vol. XLIII No. 03 January 20, 2019

Meanwhile in Tripura

Rahul Sinha

Madhab Barri: An incident of State sponsored terror

ON January 8, as the working class of the country was on its  first day of a 48 hour strike against the anti people and anti worker policies of the Modi government,  NESO, a platform of indigenous student organisations too called a strike in the states of Northeast opposing the citizenship amendment bill placed in the parliament by Modi government.  A section of tribal youth resorted to picketing of  the national highway at Madhabbari of Jirania subdivision, West Tripura.  Police used force to vacate the road.  They used water canon, charged baton and tear  gas shells and finally opened  fire at them. Twenty of the protesters were injured.  A few of them are being treated at AGMC and one has been shifted to Kolkata. It is alleged that when an ambulance was taking the injured persons to Agartala, police stopped it and beat them up inside the ambulance itself. The videos of the incident are now viral in the social media.  These videos suggest that the otherwise peaceful road blockade was provoked and attacked   by the local BJP affiliated hoodlums which triggered this situation. As a result of the pitched battle between the two groups several shops belonging to both the communities were gutted.       One might remember that in 2017, IPFT had blocked the rail  and the national highway for 10 consecutive days. But the then Left Front government handled the situation with utmost patience and police didn't even touch any of the protesters despite all sorts of provocations. But with a change in government the police too was given a free hand. The CM till this report is being written has not visited the spot and merely ordered a magistrate level inquiry while his coalition partner IPFT has demanded a judicial inquiry.  To hide their utter failure to control the situation the government on one hand  suspended the mobile internet and sms services for an unprecedented 96 hours  at a stretch while two of the ministers Sudip Ray Barman and Mevar Kumar Jamatia tried to put the blame on CPI(M), particularly on Manik Dey, a former MLA of the area and state secretariat member of  CPI(M). The blanket ban on internet caused immense sufferings to the people. In banks, post offices,  ration shops, services were severely affected.       

CPI(M) leadership including Manik Sarkar, state secretary Gautam Das,  CEM of TTAADC Radhacharan Debbarma and others visited the injured persons in  the   hospital   in the night itself and Manik Sarkar demanded an impartial probe in to the incident of firing to find out if  the firing could be avoided.                        

Tripura Left Front convener Bijan Dhar, in a press conference on January 11 termed the incident as a major state sponsored terror. He dared the two ministers to come out with proof in support of the allegations labeled by them against CPI(M). On January 13,Radhacharan Debbarma visited the area,  talked to the local people.  They came out to tell the CPI(M) leaders that it was the BJP hoodlums who ignited the situation. 

On January 14 a delegation of CPI(M) led by Manik Sarkar visited the affected areas,  talked to the common people and traders. They visited the house of Sumit  Debbarma the youth injured by police bullet who is now being treated at Kolkata. Sumit's mother broke into tears in front of Manik Sarkar. Later talking to the members of the press, he said we must leave behind this atmosphere of unrest. Everyone including administration, police, political parties and well meaning people must come forward to return to an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. 

Jobs to RSS Cadres via Backdoor? 

IT seems  the BJP led government in Tripura is trying to convert the entire administration including the civil secretariat into an RSS shakha by giving backdoor entry to its cadres in government jobs.  In these columns earlier we have mentioned how people from outside the state have been appointed to the posts of OSD to the CM without any proper interview.  In the 10 months of the new government virtually the recruitment process in government services has been withheld. The government has issued circular strictly restricting new appointments.  Thousands of posts for which the recruitment process was started during Left  Front era through TPSC was cancelled. But from January 1,  10 persons joined  the civil secretariat as IT personnel on purely ad-hoc basis. Daily Desher Katha has carried this   news on its issue of  January 14 . According to our information all these 10 are RSS and BJP workers, some of them were ‘panna pramukhs’ during the election and some were part of the BJP-IT cell. It is alleged that they were appointed by the department of ICA in December flouting all the norms.  No advertisement, no interview, just the chosen 10 were appointed.  Worst still, is,  none of the 10 belongs to ST category  which means even the reservation guidelines were not followed. So much for the promises made by BJP in its vision document where they talked of jobs in every household,  50,000 government jobs in one year and a "transparent employment policy".  Till this report is filed, the government could not come up with any official contradiction giving satisfactory answers to the questions raised in the news report.