People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 29

July 17, 2011


General Strike Halts Life in Tripura

                                                           Rahul Sinha


THE 12 hour general strike in Tripura on July 13, called by the Left Front, evoked massive response in the state. Normal life all over the state came to a standstill as peace loving people of the state spontaneously responded to this call. The Left Front called the strike to voice protest against the conspiracy of the Congress to close the Tripura Medical College, its attacks on the police and TSR injuring police personnel that have resulted in the death of an innocent youth, and its unholy aim of getting the elected Left Front government dismissed unconstitutionally.


The people of the state gave a worm response to the bandh call. Roads were empty; traffic was off the road; offices, schools, colleges, shops and markets remained closed.


In a statement, the Left Front congratulated the people for making the strike a total success.


Meanwhile, some PCC leaders met the governor, D Y Patil, on July 12 night and demanded that he recommend president’s rule in the state.


AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik visited Agartala on July 13 along with Congress leaders Ranjit Thomas and Major Ved Prakash. They visited the house of the deceased young man and then went to the PCC office. PCC leaders have alleged that the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) had resorted to firing for one hour. But could not show any bullet mark when the visiting AICC leaders wanted to see bullet marks on the PCC office. Later they had a meeting with a number of journalists who demanded central intervention. Wasnik said they will report everything to the High Command. They also had a meeting with the PCC leaders. While all other leaders were inside, PCC president Surajit Dutta was found absent and outside the meeting for quite some time.


In another development, one TSR jawan deployed for security duty to leader of opposition, Ratanlal Nath, was suspended. The jawan had reported that a magazine containing 20 bullets given to him was missing from the time of clash between the Congress goons and the police. The police have started an enquiry into the incident.




Earlier the city of Agartala witnessed the violent and anarchical face of the Congress on July 11 afternoon when, in the name of a “silent, peaceful protest procession,” Congress goons attacked the police and TSR personnel, opened fire at them, hurled bombs, threw brickbats, ransacked a police station, set ablaze five police vehicles and terrorised the ordinary people. As a result of these violent activities, one innocent civilian was killed and 40 people including 15 police personnel were injured. The police had to resort to lathicharge and open fire in air to disperse the unruly mob.


The Tripura Left Front condemned these terror tactics of the Congress and called for a 12 hour general strike in Agartala on July 13. Chief minister Manik Sarkar appealed to the peace loving people of the state to protest and denounce any attempt to disturb the law and order situation in the state and to extend cooperation to the administration to maintain peace and tranquillity.


Since the electoral defeat of the Left Front in West Bengal, the Congress in Tripura has been feeling overjoyed. Soon after the results to the Bengal assembly elections were announced, central home minister P Chidambaram visited Tripura on May 17. During his visit he addressed the Congressmen inside the Pradesh Congress Bhavan, and openly instigated the Congress workers. He said if the Left Front government in West Bengal could be ousted, the same can be done in Tripura too. He asked his party men to be in the streets daily for agitation and movement in order to unseat the Left Front government in the state. It is worth remembering that in 1988 the left front government was toppled by creating a reign of terror in the state. The extremist group TNV was supplied arms and used by the Congress party. The TNV murdered 93 innocent non-tribal civilians only a few days before the elections. The Disturbed Area Act was promulgated all over the state. Central paramilitary forces were used to influence the voters to vote for the Congress and counting of votes was rigged to defeat the Left Front. Chidambaram was a central minister at that time and was active in engineering the whole process, along with Santosh Mohan Deb, as per the instructions of Rajiv Gandhi.


Soon after Chidambaram’s visit, the NSUI and the Youth Congress called a 12 hour bandh in the state which saw a spree of violence in Agartala. Just after the bandh, PCC spokesman Ratan Chakraborty said, “It seems almost impossible to dislodge this government in a democratic way. It has to be forcibly pulled down.” The spirit of this provocative remark has lingered. The Common Entrance Test for the Tripura Medical College was scheduled to take place on July 10. but the leader of opposition, Ratanlal Nath, announced that the Congress won’t allow the exam to take place. Section 144 was promulgated in the areas surrounding the MBB College, where the test was scheduled to be held. The Congress hoodlums assembled near the college and tried to enter the college defying prohibitory orders. They attacked the policemen on duty. The police had to lathicharge to keep the situation in control. The Congressmen squatted on the national highway to obstruct the traffic movement.


On July 11, Congress called for a silent procession to protest the alleged police atrocity. In the afternoon the procession started from the PCC office at Post Office Chowmohani. But even before the procession could cross the Post Office Chowmohani, a few hooligans at the tail of the procession started using provocative language against the TSR jawans on duty and attacked them with sticks. The mob rushed towards the adjacent West Agartala Police Sstation, pelted brickbats on the police and ransacked the police station. They hurled five bombs at the police station and set ablaze five police vehicles. Fire tenders were not allowed to enter the area. The miscreants opened fire at the police. A TSR jawan named Bhujbir Chouhan sustained three bullet injuries. The Congress goons used the PCC office as their shelter to launch attacks on the police and civilians. The police had to open fire in the air and resort to a lathicharge to disperse the hooligans. In all, 26 civilians and 15 police personnel including an ASP and the OC of the West PS were injured. A civilian called Papai Saha, who was injured, later succumbed to injuries.


That the attack on the police was pre-planned is evident from the fact that loads of brickbats, bombs and petrol to set ablaze the vehicles were readily available with the hooligans. The warlike situation continued for more than two hours. The Congress goons ransacked a number of bikes and private vehicles forced the shops to be closed and tried to create a total terror and anarchy in the city. Later the situation was brought under control by promulgating Section 144 in the town.


The Left Front strongly denounced this heinous plot of the Congress party to create anarchy and instability in the state. It strongly protested the attacks on the police TSR and civilians by the Congress. It called for a 12 hour strike on July 13 in the Agartala Municipal area and protest processions all over the state on July 12.


The chief minister, Manik Sarkar, reviewed the whole situation and asked the administration to take necessary steps to maintain law and order. He condoled the death of Papai Saha and instructed the appropriate authority for proper treatment of the injured persons. He also ordered a magisterial enquiry into the whole episode. He appealed to the peace loving citizens of the state that they must protest and denounce any attempt to disturb peace, and extend help to the administration to maintain peace and tranquillity.