Agartala: At least six persons were reportedly injured after a clash broke out between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition CPI-M at Dhanpur area in Sonamura sub-division in Sepahijala district on Monday.
Opposition leader and former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar was visiting Kathalia to attend a pre-scheduled programme when his convoy was stopped by a group of “miscreants’. Following this, CPI-M workers rushed to the spot, resulting in a clash between the two sides.
Sarkar was accompanied by two local CPI-M MLAs, Shahid Chowdhury and Shyamal Chakraborty when his convoy was stopped. Slogans such as ‘Manik Sarkar go back’, demanding Rose Valley chit fund money, were raised.
Speaking with reporters later, Sonamura Sub-divisional Police officer (SDPO) Banoj Biplab Das said following an altercation, a clash ensued and a ruling BJP activist was injured and the local party office of the BJP was damaged by CPI-M workers.
Sensing trouble, the SDPO said he asked the CPI-M leaders not to go ahead since the situation was volatile but the opposition workers formed a human barricade around them and accompanied their leaders.
Sarkar went ahead and reached Baspukur, a small village 3 km from Dhanpur.
The police also said that during the clash one CPI-M supporter and four BJP activists were injured. The police had to fire tear gas shells to disperse the two groups.
“We have to fight back”
Upon reaching Kathalia, the opposition leader congratulated all the people who joined the CPI-M programme “without paying heed to the BJP”.
“Those who have overcome several obstacles and made this programme successful are heroes. I congratulate all of you. A strong message was sent before the entire state that the CPI-M can resist,” Sarkar said from the stage.
“We have to fight back. We have to resist. We can’t keep our heads down anymore,” Sarkar said while encouraging the party workers to protest in future.
Later at a press conference at the BJP headquarters in the evening, newly-inducted Minister for Information, Culture and Youth Affairs Sushanta Chowdhury lashed at the opposition leader and accused him of “scripting the entire political violence”.
“We believe in democracy, not in violence. But, we are also ready to respond to CPI-M in the language they understand. If they think BJP karyakartas are weak, they are wrong,” Chowdhury said.
He also announced that the BJP state unit would hold a demonstration at Kathalia on September 8 next to protest against the incident and appealed to BJP activists from across the state to join the protest.
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