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Home » Politics » 14 TMC activists arrested in Tripura for violating COVID norms, get bail

14 TMC activists arrested in Tripura for violating COVID norms, get bail

The TMC activists were produced before the CJM court in Khowai, which granted them bail, the party's Tripura unit spokesperson, Ashish Lal Singh, said.

By Newsd
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Source: The Indian Express

At least 14 leaders and workers of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), including those injured in an alleged attack by BJP workers on the previous day, were arrested in Tripura’s Khowai district on Sunday for ”violating COVID norms”, police said.

The TMC activists were produced before the CJM court in Khowai, which granted them bail, the party’s Tripura unit spokesperson, Ashish Lal Singh, said.

TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, who is West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and the de facto number 2 in the party, along with other party leaders visited Khowai amid tight security arrangements.

Police said that the 14 TMC members were arrested for violating COVID restrictions by travelling after the imposition of night curfew at 7 pm.

Singh said that party leaders including himself, Debangshu Bhattacharya, Tania Poddar, Sudip Raha and Jaya Dutta were among those arrested.

Raha and Dutta had sustained injuries when their vehicle was allegedly attacked by BJP workers at Ambassa in Dhalai district on Saturday.

”After the attack, we were returning to Agartala through National Highway 8 when the police stopped our vehicles at Khowai and took us into custody stating that there could be more attacks on us by ‘miscreants’. Indeed, BJP activists had gathered at several places on NH 8 to attack us,” Singh said.

However, early in the morning, police said that the TMC members were arrested for violating COVID restrictions.

Apart from Banerjee, West Bengal TMC general secretary Kunal Ghosh, the eastern state’s Education Minister Bratya Basu, and Rajya Sabha MP Dola Sen also visited Khowai.

Banerjee had earlier visited Tripura on August 2, when his convoy was also allegedly attacked by BJP workers.

After securing bail for the 14 TMC workers, Banerjee returned to Kolkata while the other senior leaders stayed back in Agartala, Singh said.

The West Bengal BJP welcomed the action against the TMC activists, saying that the Biplab Deb government is taking appropriate steps against ”trouble-mongers”.

Senior BJP leader and former Tripura governor Tathagata Roy claimed that TMC has no moral right to speak on law and order in the northeastern state as over 140 BJP workers have been killed in West Bengal in the last three years.

”Does the TMC want to export West Bengal’s political violence to Tripura and fish in troubled waters? Their game plan will never succeed,” Roy told reporters.

West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh echoed him, saying, ”No one gives any importance to TMC in Tripura. They don’t have any organisation in the northeastern state. The TMC leadership is itself staging incidents to provoke the police but these will not give them any dividend.” Senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim said, ”The BJP sheds crocodile tears for democratic values in West Bengal, and carries out barbaric attacks in Tripura.” Strongly criticising Saturday’s attack, TMC leaders had alleged that the incident proved that there ”goonda raj” (lawlessness) in Tripura, and the BJP has sensed its defeat in the 2023 assembly elections in the state.

Denying the involvement of its activists in the attack, the BJP claimed that the TMC is a non-factor in Tripura, and West Bengal’s ruling party is spreading the ”virus of political violence” in the northeastern state, where ”outsiders” are fomenting trouble.

Shortly after the incident, BJP and TMC supporters had faced off and staged road blockades 500 m apart on NH 8, forcing Chief Minister Biplab Deb to take a detour to return to Agartala after attending some programmes in Dharmanagar.

TMC workers led by Subal Bhowmik, a former vice-president of Tripura BJP who recently switched sides, were protesting the alleged ransacking of a TMC party office by saffron party workers in Batarasi area of Dharmanagar on Friday night.

The West Bengal CPI(M) has also criticised the attack, but also took a dig at the TMC alleging that it had kept mum when Left workers were earlier attacked in BJP-ruled Tripura.