CPM has been passing through probably the most crucial phase in its history in Tripura. One of its state leaders as well as a minister in the 12-member Manik Sarkar ministry has been named for having relations with an active worker of global terrorist organisations, Al Qaeda and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Bangladesh (HuJI). Now, he and his party are the matter of public whispering all over. CID of another Left-Front ruled state, West Bengal, is investigating into the matter.
The minister who is alleged to have relations with Mamun Mia alias Suman Mazumder, allegedly an active member of Al Qaeda and HUJI, is Shahid Chowdhury. Elected to the state legislative assembly for several times from Boxanagar constituency under Muslim dominated Sonamura Sub Division in West Tripura district, he was inducted into the Ministry for the first time after CPM-led Left Front retained power recently. He is Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs.
On the other hand, Mamun Mia is a suspected Bangladeshi having stronghold at Kolkata. He rushed to Agartala via Bangladesh from West Bengal a few years back for taking shelter and collecting money for terrorist organisations. His another motive was to circulate fake Indian currency in the local market. During his stay at Agartala he stayed at a rented house at Ramnagar Road Number One. A special team of West Bengal CID arrested him from this house on March 27.
Shahid Chowdhury'sname came in the limelight when some local newspapers disclosed his relations with Mamun. The media reports also revealed that the suspected guy got cooperation from Chowdhury in all respect.
The Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Shri Ratan Lal Nath demanded immediate expulsion of the minister and setting up of an Inquiry Commission with a sitting High Court judge as its head. Shri Nath wrote a letter to Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and conveyed his deep concerns saying unless the said Minister is expelled, the secrecy of the government could be available to anti-India forces and may invite new threats to the internal security.
Tripura unit of Bharatiya Janata Party and Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) too expressed their apprehensions in this regard and stressed the need to keep Chowdhury out of the Ministry till any legal conclusion of the case. The state BJP president Shri Nilmani Deb said the government has no alternative except expelling the tainted Minister immediately. He also advocated the arrest of Chowdhury alongwith his wife.
The allegations against the CPM leader are: He had liaison with Mamun, he arranged a rented house for him in Agartala; he helped him in getting Permanent Resident Certificate and, Passport; and he visited Mamun'srented shelter place several times with his wife.
Now, surprisingly, the Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and his party colleagues are keeping mum even after repeated publications of news items in local media. The Minister concerned also did not comment on the matter so far.
In another development, the name of a Congress MLA, Surajit Datta, from Ramnagar assembly constituency, has also been mingled with the matter. A local newspaper reported on April 15 that Datta also had close relations with Mamun. Though he categorically denied all the indictments levelled against him.
Unlike the past, the ruling CPM is silent this time and encouraging people build their own opinion without having known the stance of the party on the issue. A source in the party headquarters in Agartala said there is a clear division in the State Committee over the subject. A faction wants the Minister should resign. This small group has the support of former Minister of Labour Faizur Rahman who lost chance to Shahid Chowdhury when the new Ministry came in. Rahman expects that the undeclared quota for Muslims in the ministry would be filled up again by him in case of Chowdhury'sresignation. On the other hand, the majority thinks that wait and watch policy should be followed until the investigation report being conducted by the Tripura police comes.
The situation, obviously, is not good for the health of CPM in any way especially when the party led government has been working all out to wash out extremists, particularly National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). The gentle shape leaders of CPM are now busy in making way to hide face from the media to avoid inevitable embarrassment. They are visibly terrorised by the relation between a terrorist and their own man.