Agartala: After Tripura police twice denied granting permission to the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to hold a public rally in Agartala, the Tripura High Court on Tuesday declined to interfere with the state government’s decision to not allow any public gathering till Diwali with apprehension of possible political violence in the state.

The TMC had filed a petition in the high court. 

Speaking with reporters, Advocate General Siddhartha Shankar Dey said the single bench of Justice Arindam Lodh closed the case without grant of prayers made in the petition.

“The court has never worked as the regulatory authority of permitting rallies and processions of political parties till date. The petition was admitted on urgent basis in the high court on Monday but it was not granted by the court on Tuesday,” Dey said.

He also said that the high court heard the counsels of the petitioners who joined virtually from Kolkata. The court decided not to interfere in the government’s decision as Section 144 will remain enforced across the West Tripura district till November 4 next.

Speaking further, the advocate general said the state had imposed Section 144 keeping in mind the upcoming Durga Puja (Shrodotsava), which is one of the prime festivals in Tripura, and the fear that COVID cases may surge. However, Dey said, the government has not obstructed puja celebrations if COVID-19 norms are followed.  

“There is an apprehension that the third wave of COVID-19 might hit the state and some unholy forces are seen raising their heads during political rallies in the last few weeks. The government does not want people to suffer from any sort of violence in the festival season. Section 144 was imposed on September 21 and would remain in force till November 4 next,” the advocate general added.   

The order issued by West Tripura District Magistrate Rajib Datta on Monday issued the prohibitory order expressing concern over the violence, just a day before the high court hearing.

“…It is also reported that supporters of political parties may try to commit mischief and any kind of further violence at Agartala city may result in sporadic clashes between political groups and may seriously affect the law and order situation…,” the notification reads.

According to the prohibitory order issued by the West Tripura DM, any kind of meeting, procession, or public gathering by any political party in Sadar police sub-division, with effect from 6 am September 21 morning till midnight of November 4 will be restricted.

Reacting to this, TMC leader and MP Shantanu Sen told reporters that the Tripura BJP-led government was afraid of the TMC and was trying to block its political activities to stop their supporters from quitting the party.

“We will not comment on the High Court order. However, we are with the people of Tripura and would continue to work on the field across the state,” Sen added.

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