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Tripura Anti-Muslim Violence: Muslim Leaders Demand Judicial Probe, Accuse The Police Of Conniving With VHP, Bajrang Dal

Syed Khalique Ahmed

NEW DELHI—All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) has demanded a judicial inquiry into the anti-Muslim violence, with a mandate “to probing the role of the Tripura police, too.”

AIMMM is considered to be an apex body of Muslim organizations in the country.

It asked the Tripura government to stop harassment of fact-finding teams visiting the riot-hit areas and journalists who visit the state to cover the violence for their organizations.

The demand has been made in a letter sent to Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on November 5, 2021.

Besides AIMMM president Navaid Hamid, the letter is signed by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) vice-president Prof. Mohammad Salim Engineer, Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadis (JAH) secretary Mohammad Shees Taimi and All India Milli Council (AIMC) representative Shams Tabrez Qasmi.

The letter pointed out that a probe into the role of the police in the entire anti-Muslim violence “may thwart the future agenda of those who had been at the forefront in the Tripura violence.”

It also advised the state government to “immediately stop intimidating the members of fact-finding teams” and journalists. 

The state police have booked a case against two Delhi-based advocates under Section 13 of the dreaded UAPA, a central anti-terror law framed to check terrorism. Charges under several sections of the Indian Penal Code have also been levelled against them. The Tripura police have also filed cases under UAPA against 101 social media account holders on charges of peddling “fake” news through their accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.

The two advocates Mukesh, a member of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties, and Ansar Indori, Secretary of, National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation, were part of a four-member fact-finding team. The team had visited Tripura for two days on October 30 and November 1, and collected facts about the violence. They also addressed media persons in Delhi on their return. The two advocates have been asked to appear before the Tripura West Police on November 10. 

The Tripura police detained and questioned Masihuzzama Ansari, working with news portal India Tomorrow (indiatomorrow.net), on November 3. Ansari was released two hours after the news of his detention went public.

Police connived with the culprits

The letter accused the state police of being in “open connivance with the culprits”.

According to the letter, the alleged police connivance resulted in “the arson and looting of eight Muslim shops in Panisagar, North Tripura, where the police allowed a Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP) procession of more than five thousand people for which there was no police permission.”

The missive claimed that “there are evidential proofs in the form of video recordings that the participants of procession raised provocative slogans against Islam and it’s Holy Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) also.”

The signatories of the letter pointed out that every riot-hit area has “similar stories of fear and terror because of the intimidation by the local police beside the terror acts of the goons of VHP and Bajrang Dal.” 

The letter said that there were “stories of not only lack of response by the security apparatus to contain the violence but also the open connivance of the state police with the culprits.”

16 mosques attacked

The letter claimed that “a total of 16 mosques were attacked in various parts of Tripura including two in the state capital Agartala, of which four were totally burnt down, and even copies of the Holy Quran were not spared. They too were consigned to the flames in the burnt down and destroyed mosques.”.

“Also, it’s shocking that the police did not arrest the organizers of the provocative procession which had indulged in arson, looting, and provocation, besides indulging in other unlawful activities in Panisagar,” the letter goes on to say.

Stating that the Tripura violence had globally tarnished the image of the country, the letter said that the anti-Muslim violence “sent a message that the state administration was in connivance of the perpetrators of violence.”

Here goes the full text of the letter: 

“Mr. Biplab Kumar Deb

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tripura,

Agartala, Tripura.

Dear Mr. Chief Minister,

This is in continuation to our letter dated 30/10/2021, sent to you on the eve of our visit to the anti-Muslim violence-affected areas of Tripura last month. There we were expecting a meeting with you as requested in our letter. We pursued with your PS and press secretary but our all efforts went in vain.

A joint delegation comprising senior representatives of four major national Muslim organizations of repute led by All India Muslim Majlis- e-Mushawarat (AIMMM), considered to be an apex body of Indian Muslims, visited the affected areas of state from 31st October to 2nd November 2021 and was joined by the representatives of Jamaat e Islami Hind (JIH), Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees Hind (JAH), All India Milli Council (AIMC) and the state President of Students Islamic Organisation (SIO).

During its visit the delegation members met the victims of the violence to understand the reasons behind the violence and the response of the law enforcement agencies to contain the said violence and the steps police had taken to uphold rule of the law besides understanding the steps taken by the state administration to provide relief to the victims.

We are at pains to share that every violence-effected area which we visited to take stock of the situation, has similar stories of fear and terror because of the intimidation by the local police beside the terror acts of the goons of VHP and Bajrang Dal and stories of not only lack of response by the security apparatus to contain the violence but also the open connivance of the state police with the culprits which resulted in the arson and looting of eight Muslim shops in Panisagar, North Tripura where the police allowed a Vishwa Hindu Parishad procession of more than five thousand people for which there was not even police permission and the participants had indulged in arson and looting of the shops owned by Muslims and there are evidential proofs in form of video recordings that thee participants of procession raised provocative slogans against Islam and its Holy Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) also.

We have received reports that a total of 16 mosques were attacked in various parts of Tripura including two in the state capital Agartala, of which four were totally burnt down and even copies of the holy Quran were not spared and they too were consigned to the flames in the burnt down and destroyed mosques. Also, it’s shocking that the police did not arrest the organizers of the provocative procession which had indulged in arson, looting and provocation besides indulging in other unlawful activities in Panisagar.

Unfortunately, we have also come to know that the Tripura police has not only failed to thwart designs of miscreants but has also not taken adequate steps to arrest the culprits of the violence and is acting in arbitrary manner to deny the large scale violence and also indulging in acts of intimidations by issuing notice to the members of the fact finding teams which had corroborated the data of the anti-Muslim violence.

The local Police did not spare even young journalist Mr. Masihuzzaman Ansari, member of New Delhi’s Press Club of India, who had gone to Tripura to file a story of the violence in a prestigious news portal “India Tomorrow” and was taken to Police station in Agartala. He was allowed to leave after 2 hours after the report about his detention went public. It’s shocking that Tripura Police had issued notices with a threat to invoke draconian UAPA against two members of fact-finding teams namely Mr. Ansar Indori Advocate – Secretary National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation and Advocate Mukesh of People’s Union of Civil Liberties for compiling a factual report of the state anti-Muslim violence.

It’s also shocking that the amount of the compensation given by the administration to the shop owners whose small businesses were targeted, looted and burnt is meagre in terms as it is around 6 percent of the total cost of the losses the victims had suffered.

You would agree that Tripura’s violence has globally maligned the image of our beloved country and had sent a message that the state administration was in connivance of the perpetrators of violence therein.

The silver lining of the whole events of anti-Muslim Tripura violence is the role of the common citizens of Tripura who have not participated in the unlawful activities of the goons of VHP and Bajrang Dal and had maintained peace and amity. It is also noteworthy that Muslim community in spite of being the target of the perpetrators of violence had not reacted to any of the provocations and had maintained peace and tranquility.

We earnestly request you to advise the law enforcement agencies to maintain complete impartiality, immediately stop intimidating the members of fact-finding teams and order a judicial inquiry of the violence with a mandate of probing role of Tripura police too, which may thwart the future agenda of those who had been at forefront in the Tripura violence. You would agree that it is a paramount duty of the state administration to work for communal amity and justice to all irrespective of religious identities.”

With best wishes

Navaid Hamid

President, AIMMM, New Delhi

Er. Mohammad Saleem

Vice President JIH

Dr. Mohammad Shees Taimi

Secretary, JAH

Shams Tabrez Qasmi,

Representative, AIMC

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