Explained: What's behind the violence in Tripura?

Explained: What's behind the violence in Tripura?

The state government alleged a few vested interest groups from outside Tripura were involved in a conspiracy to tarnish the government’s image

International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) members participate in a rally to protest against the alleged attack on Hindu community in Bangladesh. Credit: PTI file photo

Earlier this month, Bangladesh was hit with a wave of heightened communal tension when several Durga Puja pandals and Hindu temples were vandalised and Hindus were assaulted after 'religiously offensive' social media posts originated in the country. The wave of violence in the country resulted in tensions in Tripura, where mosques and shops were allegedly burnt and vandalised during rallies to protest Bangladeshi violence.

What happened in Tripura

A mosque was vandalised and two shops were allegedly set ablaze at Chamtilla area in North Tripura district on Tuesday evening during a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) rally taken out to protest against the violence in Bangladesh.

Three houses and a few shops, reportedly owned by members of the minority community, were also ransacked in nearby Rowa Bazar.

“Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists took out a rally to protest against the recent violence in Bangladesh. A group of people threw stones and damaged a door of a mosque in Chamtilla area during the rally. Security forces rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control,” the Superintendent of police Bhanupada Chakraborty said.

What was government and police response?

Taking note of the tension in North Tripura, the local administration subsequently clamped Section 144 of CrPC prohibiting gathering of more than four persons in the region. Meanwhile, police said a case was registered suo motu while another was filed by minority organisations seeking action against those who vandalised the mosque. The police provided security to mosques across the state to prevent further communal tension and attacks.

However, the police denied that any mosque was burned, saying that fake social media IDs are being used to spread rumours and fake news and clarified that the law and order situation in the state is "absolutely normal".

The Tripura government also denied that any violence had occurred, alleging that a vested interest group from outside had hatched a conspiracy to create unrest in the state and malign its image by uploading a fake photograph of a burning mosque on social media.

"The police have investigated and found that no mosque was burnt in Panisagar sub-division in North Tripura district as claimed by social media posts," Information and Culture Minister Sushanta Chowdhury said.

Judicial intervention

The Tripura HC has directed the Biplab Kumar Deb government to submit an affidavit by November 10 about actions taken by it and its plans to defuse tension at Panisagar following the alleged vandalism of houses and shops there.

A division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Subhashish Talapatra took up a suo-moto public interest litigation on Friday and sought a report by the state government by November 10 on the alleged vandalisation in North Tripura district. Judges also wanted to know what actions had been taken with regard to fake social media posts.

The HC took notice of Deb’s announcement of providing compensation to people affected in the violence and directed the government to take urgent action for the same.

Political response to the violence

While the BJP government in the state remains firm on the conspiracy angle, the Opposition is not quiet on the matter. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has alleged that Muslims are being brutalised in Tripura and asked how long will the government pretend to be deaf and blind.

"Our Muslim brothers are being brutalised in Tripura. Those who perpetrate hatred and violence in the name of Hindus are not Hindus but hypocrites," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
"How long will the government keep pretending to be blind and deaf," he asked.

He also alleged that those doing violence in the name of Hinduism are "not Hindus but hypocrites".

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress alleged that the BJP was supporting right-wing organisations to reap political benefits ahead of municipality elections slated next month and the Assembly elections in 2023.

The West Bengal unit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), on the other hand, has blamed the violence in the state as the trigger behind the attacks on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also spoke up on the issue of violence in her country, saying that certain quarters with vested interests were disseminating propaganda to create a communal divide and tarnish the image of Bangladesh.

With PTI and DHNS inputs.

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