Tripura HC calls for end to 'religious persecution' of 2 Christian families

Agartala: The High Court of Tripura on Tuesday took strong exception to “religious persecution” against two Christian families in a village in the Unakoti district.

Speaking on the issue, senior advocate Samrat Kar Bhowmik said, “The Tripura High Court single bench headed by Justice Arindam Lodh expressed his utter surprise as on the fact that religious persecution is still in practice in 2023. The Court had also passed a slew of strict orders in connection with the case.”

While detailing the incident, Bhowmik said, “In West Adnancherra village of Unakoti district, families of Purnamoy Chakma and Tarun Chakma, who were followers of Buddhism, converted to Christianity out of choice in November 2022. Aggrieved at their act of embracing Christianity, the Buddhist community of the local area ostracised them from the society.”

According to the senior advocate, for the last year, both families have been at the receiving end of religious discrimination.

“Purnamoy Chakma, a day wage labourer, was barred from working in the local households. All locals were directed by the community heads in accordance with their customary law not to hire Chakma for tilting and ploughing agricultural land of the area,” he added.

On the other hand, he said, Tarun Chakma, an auto-driver by profession, had been forced to take his three-wheeler off the road. “Public announcements in the local area directed locals to refrain from hiring his auto for travelling elsewhere. In both cases, those found violating the dictates had to pay hefty monetary penalties. They were also barred from attending social functions such as funerals and marriages,” Bhowmik pointed out.

Bhowmik, who represented both families in the High Court, also informed the media persons that in order to combat the situation, both families filed two writ petitions with the High Court of Tripura.

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“The matter was listed before the bench of Justice Arindam Lodh. After hearing the submissions of both the families, the Court passed strict orders and made the state government party in the case. The government functionaries had been asked to look into the matter, take necessary action and put a stop to such practices. The police have been asked to take stringent action against those who had imposed such penalties on poor families. The Court had issued notices to those individuals and asked the police to produce them before Court if required, followed by arrest,” he explained.

Advocate General Siddhartha Sankar Dey, who had pleaded with the Court on behalf of the state government, assured full cooperation from the state machinery in this case.

The next hearing into the case has been fixed after the Durga Puja vacation.  

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