The Tripura incident can be seen as a corollary to the upcoming Assembly elections of Tripura in 2023 and the same set of people who went ~1500 KMs to Tripura but could not go & check in their backyard in Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, Bankura, Jhargram and Birbhum when state-protected violence was happening during May 2021.
The recent 'Tripura Incident' is an old-school cheap tactic played by the opposition and critiques to lambast the government and disrupt the state's peace. The government and the opposition have locked horns, and none of them is budging from their stance. The facts have been twisted to set a vendetta vis-à-vis communal harmony. Its genesis can be traced to the Bangladesh violence that occurred in October 2021… Violence against Hindus in Comilla town of Bangladesh Durga Puja started on October 13 and continued till October 17 across Bangladesh.
In protest against this incident, various organisations and Vishwa Hindu Parishad had come down to protest in Tripura on October 21. A huge torch march was taken out in the Gomti district, 50 km from Tripura's capital Agartala. Several Muslim activists and organisations claimed that the rally participants vandalised 6-12 mosques and over a dozen houses and shops belonging to the Muslim community.
A senior Tripura Police official said that there had been sporadic incidents, but no major incident of law and order disturbance has occurred since then. The police are providing security to around 150 mosques. The state government has, however, maintained there is no communal tension in the state.
Videos were also shared on social media in which a mosque was vandalised and two shops torched in the Chamtilla area during a Vishwa Hindu Parishad rally in North Tripura district on October 26 evening. Numerous fake videos of other incidents of Bangladesh on Rohingyas were also projected as photos of Tripura incidents.
On October 29, Section 144 was imposed after a group of unidentified miscreants ransacked a Kali temple in the Kubjhar area of Kailashahar. In another incident, NSUI and Trinamool Chhatra Parishad activists attacked an ABVP leader in Kailashahar on October 29 2021.
The attempt to portray that Muslims in Tripura are living under threat and administration of the state as a mere spectator is quite apparent here. The opposition is leaving no stone unturned to utilise this opportunity to win political browny points. Fake reports, doctored videos, and misinformation are being spread to create chaos and create a narrative to vitiate social harmony.
In a letter dated November 3, West Agartala police station requested Twitter to block at least 68 accounts from its platform and provide their personal information, saying that an FIR has been registered against them under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). The opposition has targeted the ruling BJP over this. The Tripura Police booked 102 social media account holders under terror charges for allegedly spreading "objectionable news items/ statements" regarding the recent violence and served notices to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube asking them to delete these accounts and provide particulars of the individuals operating them.
After Tripura Police booked Supreme Court lawyers, who claimed to be members of the so-called independent fact-finding team for allegedly sharing "fake information on social media" on reported communal violence, the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemned and demanded the police to withdraw the cases.
A Tripura Police team arrested and brought two Delhi-based women journalists to the state from Assam after being booked for promoting "communal hatred" during their reporting on the October 26 communal violence. They got bail against 75,000 bail bond each. AIMIM sent a letter to the CM of Tripura, Mr. Biplab Kumar Deb on Tripura violence, the role of Tripura Police and its acts of 'intimidation' against members of the fact-finding teams & threats to invoke UAPA against them.
The critiques have said that the government is trying to suppress the voice of journalism and killing journalism.
Several protests have taken place in different parts of the country by organisations like Rashtriya Muslim Morcha and Bahujan Kranti Morcha in Maharashtra, All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) & workers from Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur College of Nursing, from New Delhi, Janta Dal Secular (JDS), Gulbarga, from Karnataka. Imam Muazzam Organisation of Birbhum, West Bengal, submitted a memorandum. All India Sunni Jamiat-E-Ulma and Raza Academy organised Malegaon Bandh on November 12' 2021, against anti-Muslim violence in Tripura, and the All India Lawyers Union (AILU) demanded to withdraw UAPA and other charges against Lawyers immediately. This protest turned violent, resulting in imposing curfew & article 144 in several locations.
The grave repercussion of the incident was witnessed in Maharashtra. Stones were hurled, and at least 18 police personnel, including three officers, were injured after protests in Maharashtra against the alleged communal violence in Tripura took an ugly turn. The stone-pelting incidents mainly occurred in Amravati, Malegaon and Nanded City during the rallies taken out by some Muslim organisations. Internet services in the city remained suspended for three days.
In Amravati, over eight thousand people gathered outside the district collector's office to submit a memorandum demanding that atrocities against the minority community should be stopped. They started pelting stones when returning from the DC office after the submission of the memorandum. Against the backdrop of back-to-back incidents of stone-pelting, police issued orders imposing a curfew within the city limits under sections 144(1), (2), (3) of CrPc to avoid any untoward incident.
The incident is not just the talk of the town anymore. Several international organisations in the USA, EU and Pakistan have also expressed selective opinions and outrage with half knowledge. The hypocrisy in their outlook is not surprising.
While the government staunchly refuted and dismissed the allegations targeted by the opposition. Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma called reports about incidents of violence in the state "fake news" and claimed that it was an attempt to tarnish the northeastern state's image. A conspiracy is brewed against the government to hinder the development of the state.
Earlier, the Union home ministry released a statement saying that the news circulating on social media of vandalism at a mosque in Tripura is fake, adding that it is a "complete misrepresentation of facts". It also said that there is no report of simple or grievous injury or rape or death of any person in any such incidents in Tripura as alleged in some social media posts.
The home ministry said that there had been reports of violence and unsavoury statements aimed at disturbing peace and harmony based on fake news regarding Tripura in Maharashtra. The MHA specifically attempted to stop rumours of a particular mosque in the Gomati district being vandalised. "This is very concerning and it is urged that peace is maintained at all costs.". The home ministry made it clear that there is no reported case of damage to the structure of any mosque in Tripura in the recent past.
The definition of tolerance and secularism is different for Hindus and Muslims for these perpetrators of fake narratives. Muslims can be allowed to destroy the Hindu culture and beliefs, but Hindus are not even allowed to reply, as Hindus will be considered intolerant and unwilling to coexist with the 'minority'. Until when and why this discriminatory lens of politics will go on? How long will fake news paddlers be allowed to play with the social fabric of the country? There's a need to take the matter to culmination by giving exemplary treatment to the culprits. India can not always be a soft state.
The Tripura incident can be seen as a corollary to the upcoming Assembly elections of Tripura in 2023. Political opponents like the TMC and INC have falsified the recent Tripura episode to set a precedence against the BJP. The irony is that the same set of people who went ~1500 KMs to Tripura but could not go & check in their backyard in Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, Bankura, Jhargram and Birbhum when state-protected violence was happening during May 2021.
The critiques and the political competition have stooped extremely low. There is no constructive criticism left. Their methods and thinking of playing the 'trump card' of polarising politics are pitiable.