Rallies, meetings banned in Agartala after mob violence, arson

Agartala, Aug 24 (IANS) The Tripura government on Wednesday barred public meetings and rallies in Agartala and re-imposed prohibitory orders in state capital to ensure normalcy and peace, an official said.

These measures come after Tuesday’s ethnic clashes in which at least 24 persons were injured and 15 vehicles, including two-wheelers, were damaged. The mob also set fire to a some shops and vehicles.

“The prohibitory order under Section 144 of the CrPC has been re-imposed in Agartala. All kinds of public meetings and rallies have been disallowed,” police spokesman Uttam Bhowmik said.

He said the situation was normal in the city, though personnel of the paramilitary forces, Tripura State Rifles and the police were deployed in large numbers across Agartala as a precautionary measure.

The attendance in government offices, banks, schools and other places was less than normal on Wednesday.

A senior police official, insisting on anonymity, said all 74 police stations across the state have been put on alert and security personnel directed to remain vigilant.

Top police officials are closely monitoring the situation.

At least 24 people, including five policemen, were injured, a few of them seriously, in Agartala after activists of a tribal party — Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) — attacked civilians, traders and vehicles indiscriminately without provocation on Tuesday.

The situation turned violent around noon on Tuesday as hundreds of tribals owing allegiance to the IPFT took out a rally and attacked passersby, including women.

This triggered retaliation by people of other communities, turning the situation volatile on ethnic lines.

The injured, including policemen, have been shifted to hospitals.

Around 3,000 IPFT tribal activists and their supporters, including a large numbers of women, were left stranded here till early Wednesday in the wake of Tuesday’s violence.

Police and district administration officials arranged to send them to their homes in different parts of the state.

The state government has urged the people to maintain peace and not to fall prey to any rumours.

The IPFT has been agitating for the creation of a separate state, carved out by upgrading the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council area. Tribals constitute a third of Tripura’s four million population.

The IPFT’s demand was rejected by almost all political parties, including ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

The CPI-M has accused the opposition parties, especially the Trinamool Congress (TMC), of disturbing peace in Tripura. The opposition, however, blamed the Left Front government for “mishandling” Tuesday’s situation.

The TMC had planned a “peace rally” on Wednesday but cancelled it.

“We will not fall prey to the conspiracy of the ruling parties. We have cancelled the rally as the government did not give us permission,” Trinamool leader Ashish Saha told reporters.

–IANS

sc/tsb/vt

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