political churn

CPI(M) accuses BJP of violence in Tripura but observers say this is a legacy of the Left

The violence was widespread but officials said it is now under control.

Days after the Bharatiya Janata Party won assembly elections in Tripura, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Tripura accused it of unleashing concerted violence against its workers and vandalising its offices. In a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, the CPI(M) alleged that 514 of its workers had been injured, with more than 1,500 homes attacked purportedly by BJP supporters. In addition, it claimed 350 of its offices had been ransacked or captured by the newly elected party.

“This is not just an attack on our party,” said CPI(M) leader Jitendra Chaudhury. “This is an attack on our Constitution, our fundamental rights.”

Chaudhury, who is one of the two Lok Sabha members from Tripura, claimed the party’s workers were being “attacked in broad daylight by lethal weapons and petrol bombs”. He alleged the attackers had the tacit support of the BJP’s senior leaders. “There are being instigated, this is an organised attack,” he said.

The parliamentarian said that the jubilant reactions of top BJP leaders to the destruction of a statue of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, or Lenin, by alleged BJP supporters in a town called Belonia in the state’s southern district was testament to the saffron party’s endorsement of violence. “Ram Madhav [the party’s national general secretary] justified the vandalism in a tweet,” he alleged. “They are sowing the seeds of hatred in Tripura.”

In a tweet that has since been deleted, Madhav had written: “People taking down Lenin’s statue … not in Russia; it is in Tripura. ‘Chalo Paltai’”. Chalo Paltai – Let’s change – was the war cry of the BJP’s election campaign in Tripura.

On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called the governor of Tripura, Tathagata Roy, and asked him to ensure peace till the new government took charge. On Monday, Roy had expressed support for the razing of the Lenin statue.

‘We reject these charges’

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s spokesperson in the state, Mrinal Kanti Deb, however, rejected the charges against its leaders and workers. He alleged it was a conspiracy by the CPI(M) to disturb the law and order of the state. “People have changed their colours overnight,” he said. “A lot of Left workers after our victory started identifying themselves as the BJP workers. They are the ones involved in the few sporadic violent activities that may have taken place. But once our government takes charge, all of them will be sent to jail.”

Several people in the state said that violence was quite widespread. “In every village there has been violence,” said a rubber planter from Santirbazar in South Tripura. “This is really disappointing because this is not what I had voted the BJP for. I hope the party’s senior leaders take action. They can’t just say they are not our workers.”

Said an Agartala-based businessman: “Yes, there has been violence, but it only natural. There were a lot of pent-up emotions among people. The Left, after all, had been in power for 25 years.”

Post-poll violence regular fare

Political observers point out that post-poll violence in Tripura is not a new occurrence. “It happened in 2013, in 2008, in 2003, so there’s nothing really new,” said an Agartala-based political analyst. “But it does seem that there has been a quick turnover this time, a lot of low-level Left leaders seem to have changed loyalties. Miscreants understand which side to be on, and as newcomers you have to prove your worth, that’s how it works everywhere.”

Tapas Dey, a veteran Congress leader and former legislator, said the CPI(M) had only itself to blame. “Post-poll violence is a legacy that the Left had left behind,” claimed Dey. “They are doing this hue and cry this time because they are facing the heat. But the truth is they have created this culture.”

Electoral violence is common in Tripura. In the run-up to the state elections, both the CPI(M) and the BJP lost several of their workers in violent clashes that would routinely break out between the two parties.

Government officials, however, said that violence was beginning to taper off, beginning Monday evening. “Things are under control,” said a senior state government official. “There are prohibitory orders in some places but that’s only a preventive measure.”

A top official of the district administration of Sepahijala, one of the two districts where Section 144 was imposed on Sunday, said there had been sporadic clashes. He claimed many of these clashes were “personal” that had been given “political colour”.

“Both parties are involved,” he said on Tuesday evening. “This happens after election results in Tripura and we expect things to be completely normal by tomorrow.”

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Following a mountaineer as he reaches the summit of Mount Everest

Accounts from Vikas Dimri’s second attempt reveal the immense fortitude and strength needed to summit the Everest.

Vikas Dimri made a huge attempt last year to climb the Mount Everest. Fate had other plans. Thwarted by unfavourable weather at the last minute, he came so close and yet not close enough to say he was at the top. But that did not deter him. Vikas is back on the Everest trail now, and this time he’s sharing his experiences at every leg of the journey.

The Everest journey began from the Lukla airport, known for its dicey landing conditions. It reminded him of the failed expedition, but he still moved on to Namche Bazaar - the staging point for Everest expeditions - with a positive mind. Vikas let the wisdom of the mountains guide him as he battled doubt and memories of the previous expedition. In his words, the Everest taught him that, “To conquer our personal Everest, we need to drop all our unnecessary baggage, be it physical or mental or even emotional”.

Vikas used a ‘descent for ascent’ approach to acclimatise. In this approach, mountaineers gain altitude during the day, but descend to catch some sleep. Acclimatising to such high altitudes is crucial as the lack of adequate oxygen can cause dizziness, nausea, headache and even muscle death. As Vikas prepared to scale the riskiest part of the climb - the unstable and continuously melting Khumbhu ice fall - he pondered over his journey so far.

His brother’s diagnosis of a heart condition in his youth was a wakeup call for the rather sedentary Vikas, and that is when he started focusing on his health more. For the first time in his life, he began to appreciate the power of nutrition and experimented with different diets and supplements for their health benefits. His quest for better health also motivated him to take up hiking, marathon running, squash and, eventually, a summit of the Everest.

Back in the Himalayas, after a string of sleepless nights, Vikas and his team ascended to Camp 2 (6,500m) as planned, and then descended to Base Camp for the basic luxuries - hot shower, hot lunch and essential supplements. Back up at Camp 2, the weather played spoiler again as a jet stream - a fast-flowing, narrow air current - moved right over the mountain. Wisdom from the mountains helped Vikas maintain perspective as they were required to descend 15km to Pheriche Valley. He accepted that “strength lies not merely in chasing the big dream, but also in...accepting that things could go wrong.”

At Camp 4 (8,000m), famously known as the death zone, Vikas caught a clear glimpse of the summit – his dream standing rather tall in front of him.

It was the 18th of May 2018 and Vikas finally reached the top. The top of his Everest…the top of Mount Everest!

Watch the video below to see actual moments from Vikas’ climb.

Play

Vikas credits his strength to dedication, exercise and a healthy diet. He credits dietary supplements for helping him sustain himself in the inhuman conditions on Mount Everest. On heights like these where the oxygen supply drops to 1/3rd the levels on the ground, the body requires 3 times the regular blood volume to pump the requisite amount of oxygen. He, thus, doesn’t embark on an expedition without double checking his supplements and uses Livogen as an aid to maintain adequate amounts of iron in his blood.

Livogen is proud to have supported Vikas Dimri on his ambitious quest and salutes his spirit. To read more about the benefits of iron, see here. To read Vikas Dimri’s account of his expedition, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Livogen and not by the Scroll editorial team.