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Tripura Forward Bloc leader arrested
- TU stalwart charged for possession of arms, inciting mob violence

Agartala, July 25: The Forward Bloc's state unit vice-president and trade union leader, Anil Krishna Sharma, was arrested in Dharmanagar subdivisional town of North Tripura today. The arrest is likely to affect the ongoing tussle for supremacy on the trade union front between the CPM and the Forward Bloc.

Sharma was charged with possession of illegal arms, incitement to mob violence and conspiracy.

Official sources at Dharmanagar said a large police force, led by subdivisional police officer (SDPO) Bhanupada Chakraborty and officer-in-charge of Dharmanagar police station Sanjay Bhowmik, cordoned off Sharma's house in the early hours today. He was produced in court and after a three-hour hearing, was remanded in judicial custody till August 5.

Sharma's arrest triggered serious political tension as hundreds of workers of the Shramik Aikya Mancha gheraoed Dharmanagar police station and demonstrated in front of the jail, condemning the arrest and demanding his unconditional release.

Shyamal Roy, secretary of the state unit of the Forward Bloc, said it was 'the result of a pre-planned conspiracy by the CPM.' He said that as the CPM could not prevent workers from deserting the CITU and joining the newly-formed Shramik Aikya Mancha, it had started using the administration to curb the growing influence of the Forward Bloc, the RSP and the CPI, who had jointly launched the Mancha.

Roy said on July 22, there had been a clash between CITU and Mancha workers after a leader of the Mancha was assaulted by CITU activists in Dharmanagar railway station. Eleven persons, including three Mancha workers had been injured in the clash but CPM leaders and workers forced the Mancha workers out of the hospital where CITU workers are still undergoing treatment.

'The CPM leadership, including those in CITU are thoroughly corrupt and after being exploited for a long time many workers have come under the banner of the Shramik Aikya Mancha,' Roy said. He added that they would continue their efforts to strengthen the Mancha despite the 'persecution of the CPM'.

A large force of Tripura State Rifles and CRPF have been deployed in Dharmangar to deal with any possible untoward incident.

The SDPO said the situation was 'tense but under control' and added that the deployment was enough to tackle 'any exigencies'.

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