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Tripura Anti-Muslim Violence: Muslim Leaders Allege Government Connivance With Miscreants, Demand Stern Action Police Officials

Masihuzzama Ansari & Syed Khalique Ahmed

AGARTALA/NEW DELHI—A delegation of leaders from different Muslim organizations alleged subtle connivance between the state government and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in the recent anti-Muslim violence in Tripura.

They asked Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Dey to come clean if he was really “innocent” in the entire episode. 

They also demanded immediate arrest of those involved in the anti-Muslim violence. Muslim leaders also sought suspension of police officials, particularly of Panisagar district Superintendent of Police (SP) Station House Officer (SHO) and other police officials on duty during the VHP rally, and set up an inquiry against them.

Addressing media persons at Agartala Press Club, Muslim leaders said that refusal of the CM to meet the people and respond to their queries indicated “his guilty conscience”. 

Stating that the plan and policy of the state government seemed to be very “nasty”, they said that the agenda of the government and the VHP seemed not to be different from each other.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) vice-president Prof. Muhammad Salim Engineer said that the delegation members wanted to meet CM and Director General of Police (DGP) V S Yadav, but there was no response from them.

CM does not want to face people

“The CM does not want to face us,” he said.

Prof. Salim said, “You ( Biplab Kumar Deb) are in power. Then you will have to hear the grievances of the people. You will have to meet the people to know the opinion of the people”, JIH leader pointed out.

“But CM’s not meeting the people, not responding, indicates his guilty conscience”, he said, and questioned, “Why is he not meeting people? If he is innocent, if he is clean, and if he has done some good thing, we will appreciate that, too,” Prof. Salim said.

“However, the Tripura government’s agenda and policy seem to be very nasty,” he pointed out.

Vehemently condemning the cynical role of the Tripura BJP government in the week-long arson and violence against Muslims, he demanded strict action against the police officials in whose jurisdiction the violence took place despite their presence at the site.

Prof. Salim Engineer drew his attention towards the highly negative role of the Panisagar SP and his junior police officials. He demanded stern action against all those police officials who were on duty at the spot or were assigned to deal with the situation during the rally at Panisagar.

Stating that the role of the police was the worst in Panisagar, he said that mosques and Muslim properties in Panisagar were destroyed in the presence of police. “Police were present when VHP took out the rally, yet VHP targetted Muslim worship places and other properties,” he stated.

“The miscreants indulged in violence because they knew that police would not take action against them,” he stated.

Violence was a part of nationwide polarization agenda

He pointed out that what was done by hate-mongers in Tripura was a part of a political agenda to create communal and religious polarization throughout the country for political gains in states like Uttar Pradesh, where assembly elections were fast approaching.

He said that it appeared the Tripura government and the VHP had a common goal in all that was done in the state.

However, Prof. Salim said that the police should not become a part of the government agenda and do their job independently. “But it appears that the police in the Panisagar district worked as a tool of the government to further the latter’s agenda,” he pointed out.

However, the JIH leader praised a lady police officer in the Gomati district who tried her best to stop the violence. “So, there are good officers as well in the police. I am sure if they act independently, police can prevent such incidents,” Prof Salim highlighted.

Delegation praises a lady police officer

The JIH leader said it was unfortunate that police had taken no action so far against the culprits involved in the violence despite the police knowing well about the organizers of the rally. He said that there were also evidence available about those having taken part in the violence.

Alleging that “the government has a role in the violence,” he said that the government and senior police officers had been maintaining all along that no significant incident had happened in Tripura and what transpired was a tiny occurrence. “The state government tried to suppress it. It did not take the issue seriously,” he pointed out.

Police threatened people sharing the news, not those involved in riots

Prof. Salim blamed the police for threatening people sharing the news of the anti-Muslim violence claiming that “rumours are being spread about violence in Tripura.”

“Instead of threatening action against people speaking the truth about the violence,” Prof. Salim said that police should have said that “the action will be taken against those involved in arson and violence, or against those police personnel who were negligent of their duty and aided and abetted the miscreants and rioters.” `

Stating that he would not have come here had he not known about the incident through media, he said that he had now seen with his eyes the range and degree of destruction to Muslim properties in Tripura.

Government should not lie

“The government should not speak a lie, should not misguide anybody, and must act as per provisions of law,” he sermonized.

He lamented that the VHP and the state government did not have separate agendas. Prof. Salim said there was very strong communal harmony and mutual brotherhood in Tripura before the BJP took over the political power. But there were now reports of communal tension in different parts of the state after the BJP acquired political power.

He said that the delegation members wanted to meet Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Director General of Police (DGP), but there was no response from them.

Bangladesh want does not justify violence in Tripura

Responding to media questions regarding attacks on Hindus during Durga Puja in Bangladesh, he said that Muslim leaders, including himself, condemned the violence against Hindus and appealed to the Bangladesh government to protest the life and property of Hindu minorities, including their worship places. “But the Bangladesh incident in no way justifies the anti-Muslim violence in Tripura and the government’s and state government’s mysterious silence on it,” he elaborated.

Regrets over PM, HM’s silence on Tripura violence

He regretted that neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor Home Minister Amit Shah expressed any sorrow over violence against Muslims in Tripura. “We will raise this issue at a press conference on our return to Delhi,” he said.

All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) president Navaid Hamid said that the Bangladesh government took prompt action against the culprits. The Bangladesh civil society, including university students, took out a march in solidarity with the Hindus of their country. These were the things the Indian government and civil society needed to learn.

All India Milli Council representative Mohammad Shees also addressed the press meet.

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