Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Tuesday ordered a probe into the attack on Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Manik Sarkar, and other CPI(M) members in South Tripura district a day ago, allegedly by workers and supporters of the ruling BJP.
Deb has given directions for formation of an inquiry committee, headed by South Tripura Superintendent of Police Kulwant Singh, and sought a report on the incident within 48 hours, a statement issued by the chief minister’s office said.
Sarkar, also a CPI(M) Politburo member and former chief minister, had on Monday said that “hooligans patronised by the ruling BJP” attacked him and other leaders when they visited Shantirbazar to meet party workers and supporters, who were “roughed up” during a programme last week.
Recounting his experience, the veteran CPI(M) leader said he and his party colleagues were shown black flags and slogans such as ‘Go back, Sarkar’ were raised.
He further claimed that Left supporters were last Wednesday “assaulted by BJP goons” when they were celebrating the birth anniversary of social thinker Karl Marx.
The police, however, stated that unidentified youths hurled stones at Sarkar and the other CPI(M) delegates, including deputy opposition leader Badal Choudhury.
Nirupam Datta, the sub-divisional police officer of Shantirbazar, said the agitators were “mildly lathicharged” when they tried to intercept the entourage. No one suffered any injury, Datta clarified.
Sarkar pointed out that the state director general of police was informed about the visit well in advance.
“It was a pre-mediated attack, which could not have happened without indulgence from the state leadership. The law and order has collapsed in the state and attacks on CPI-M party workers are increasing by the day,” he added.
State education minister and cabinet spokesperson Ratan Lal Nath, however, asserted that BJP workers had nothing to do with the entire episode.
“The attackers must be former CPI(M) activists, who were exploited during the 25-year-long misrule of the Left party. They must have wanted to take revenge,” Nath said.
BJP MLA Sudip Roy Burman condemned the incident.
In a Facebook post, he wrote, “Shocked to hear about the attack on the Leader of Opposition and other leaders in Shantirbazar. I strongly condemn and demand the arrest of the hooligans.