Police arrest civil society activists protesting against Tripura violence

New Delhi

Indian police manhandled activists from various organisations who staged a protest near Tripura Bhavan in New Delhi against concerted attacks on Muslims and their properties in the Indian state of Tripura.

The police arrested a number of protesters who raised slogans against Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb, Tripura Police and state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for failing to protect mosques, shops and homes of Muslims. They demanded action against the goons who are targeting Muslims throughout the state.

The protest was called by several civil society groups such as Students Islamic Organisation, Fraternity Movement, All India Students Association, Muslim Student Federation and United Against Hate.

However, the Indian police broke up the demonstration by brutally manhandling the protesters and detaining them.

A soon as the protest began a heavy contingent of police swung into action and rounded the participants in buses.

Similar protests were held in other parts of India including Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh and Gangapur City in Rajasthan.

Speaking to media, Wasim Ariz, secretary of Fraternity Movement, said that the violence in Tripura follows the pattern of Delhi riots of February 2020 which were “state-sponsored”. “Today we protested here because our people and places of worship are under attack.

We want to tell the government that Indian Muslims cannot endure any more violence. We will raise our voice.”

Tripura has been witnessing an alarming series of communal violence and targeted attacks against Muslims since last week.

According to information relayed by local activists and residents, there have been at least 27 confirmed incidents of Hindutva mobs attacking mosques, houses and individuals in Muslim areas.

These include 16 incidents where mosques were vandalised and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) flags were forcibly hoisted on them, three of which were set on fire.

Tripura is encircled on three sides by Bangladesh and connected by a thin corridor to the neighbouring state of Assam. The state has been run by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2018.

Opposition parties have blamed the “politically motivated fringe elements” close to the BJP for the attacks on Muslims.

Sushmita Dev, an MP from the regional Trinamul Congress party, told media that the BJP was trying to use the recent violence in Bangladesh to “polarize” the voters ahead of the municipal elections in the state in November.

Meanwhile, All India Imams Council (AIIC) condemned the violent incidents and attacks on the mosques which took place in Agartala, Kakraban, Kailashahar, Dharmanagar, Panisagar and other places in Tripura.

While talking to the media, AIIC Tripura unit President, Bilal Ahmed, and AICC Tripura unit Secretary, Sahid Ahmed demanded compensation for the damage of the mosques, madrassas and houses as well as properties belonging to the Muslim community.—KMS

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