Agartala: Political temperature continues to rise in poll-bound Tripura as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday went all guns blazing against the opposition and a section of officials for being “overenthusiastic” in their approach.
Training his guns on the police, senior BJP leader and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath said, “A section of the cops and officials are working arbitrarily. The Election Commission must be aware of the unjustified actions of such officials. We are not asking for a favour, but the officials responsible for holding the exercise fairly must not be prejudiced. We have communicated each incident before the Election Commission for their action.”
Nath was briefing the media persons shortly after ECI ordered the suspension of a poll official identified as Ajay Das, accused of smearing the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with black ink on posters and banners of the Government of India. Das was assigned as a sector officer for 40-Sabroom assembly constituencies.
Nath said, “A poll official has been suspended for his arbitrary conduct. Some officials have forgotten the ECI guidelines that describe the do’s and don’ts given the Model Code of Conduct. But, the officials care a little about the ECI guidelines.”
According to the Minister, opposition party cadres have indulged in vandalism, arson and physical assaults on BJP workers on several occasions.
“We have a list of incidents. For each of the cases, the Election Commission’s intervention is sought. In Jirania, the Congress workers tried to play the victim card after vandalizing the BJP party office. One of our dedicated workers has been stabbed in broad daylight at Aralia. Several booth offices in Mohanpur, Agartala, Jirania and Dhanpur had been either burnt or ransacked. We demand stringent measures against each of the incidents,” Nath asserted.
The Law Minister also lashed out at the police tweet published shortly after the attack on the BJP SC Morcha leader on Tuesday and alleged that police must not make hasty comments on such grave issues.
“It was an attempt to murder. The victim has lodged FIR naming Diptanu Biswas, Radheshyam Saha, Sajal Bardhan and Subhas Paul but before proper investigation, the cops published a tweet in which the incident has been described as a fallout of business rivalry. In such cases, police must act responsibly. Detaching the incident from political violence is a gross mistake committed by the police. We shall surely take up the issue with the Election Commission,” Nath pointed out.
According to Nath, only one person named in the FIR was arrested.
The police had tweeted “One Suman Das was attacked this morning by a sharp cutting weapon in Aralia area, Agartala. He could identify and name two attackers during treatment. Both of them have been arrested. Prima facie, is a case of business rivalry. Patrolling has been intensified.”
The tweet triggered a massive backlash and by the evening the post was withdrawn. A new tweet on the incident reads: In connection with today’s attack on Suman Das, complaints from relatives indicate a political rivalry angle. This aspect is being followed up during the investigation. Three notices on such named persons have been served in this regard.
BJP office burnt
A BJP booth office was reduced to ashes in the Dhanpur assembly constituency located under the Sepahijala district of Tripura. The local BJP leaders alleged that a portrait of the Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Pratima Bhoumik was also reduced to ashes.
“A gang of CPIM-backed miscreants launched an attack on our party office. The miscreants set our party office afire late on Monday night without any provocation. We seek stringent action against the miscreants,” said a local booth-level worker. Police reached the spot and a complaint was registered. Dhanpur is the home turf of Leader of the Opposition Manik Sarkar.
Miscreants torched a four-wheeler of a BJP Yuva Morcha worker on Monday night at Teliamura under the Khowai District of Tripura. The BJP Youth wing leader Litan Gope said that his vehicle was parked at a field near his house. “I returned home around 2 am and parked the car in the clear space. It was routine work for me. I did not have any idea that the miscreants had targeted my car,” he told reporters.
Given the rising cases of political face-offs and sporadic cases of clashes, the police had also intensified vigil in different parts of the state. Sources in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer said, over 200 companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces have been deployed across the state to avert any untoward incident. Police patrolling and Naka checking had also been increased.
One held with firearms
During checking in the Chinaihani area (entry point to Agartala city from Agartala airport), the Police detained a person identified as Biman Das and recovered a factory-made gun. Over 40 rounds of live bullets (7.62 mm) were also recovered.
Speaking on the issue, Officer in Charge of Airport Police station Himadri Sarkar said, “The person who had been arrested was absconding in connection with the airport shootout case. He has been detained. Two vehicles are also impounded by the police and investigation in this regard is underway,” the police official added. On Monday, a country-made shotgun was seized from a forest area in Teliamura.
Recovery of arms ahead of the polls hints at a further escalation of tension, sources in the police department informed EastMojo.
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