Agartala, May 23: The 12-hour bandh called by Tripura PCC today to protest against the assault on National Students Union of India (NSUI) president Vicky Prasad by rival SFI activists on Saturday passed off peacefully barring a few incidents in different parts of the state.
The ruling CPM and the state government had decided not to oppose the bandh to forestall any clash with Congress and NSUI supporters. From 6 this morning hundreds of Congress supporters, including NSUI activists, took to the streets across the state in organised processions to enforce the bandh.
All educational institutions, government offices, including the state secretariat and all business establishments, downed shutters, barring police headquarters, police stations and outposts. Attendance in government offices across the state was almost nil. All the party MLAs, including PCC president Surajit Dutta, leader of the Opposition Ratanlal Nath, former PCC presidents — Gopal Roy, Birajit Sinha and Samir Ranjan Barman — also took part in the picketing and bike rallies to enforce the bandh.
Since the bandh was unopposed, Congress leaders and workers had a free run in picketing and around 1,200 party workers, mostly in district and subdivisional towns, were arrested.
However, three unsavoury incidents have been reported from different parts of Agartala town as a group of Congress workers tried to torch the official vehicle of additional district magistrate (West), Dhiraj Debbarma, at Colonel Chowmuhuni but was thwarted by policemen. Debbarma was not in the vehicle but the driver was beaten up by Congress workers.
In a separate incident a Maruti Gypsy car of state police was attacked by Congress picketeers near Raj Bhawan and damaged a little. There were no armed policemen on the vehicle but the driver was slapped by Congress workers before being rescued by a mobile police van.
A female school teacher was on her way to her school in Ranir Bazar area, 15km east of Agartala, but was abused and jostled by Congress supporters who forced her to go back home.
The DIG (operation) Nepal Das said minor scuffles involving Congress and CPM workers have been reported from Baikhora, Santir Bazar areas of South Tripura and Machhli area of North Tripura. “The primary report that I have received says 27 people belonging to both CPM and Congress received minor injuries in the scuffles and police detained 13 people owing allegiance to both the parties,” said Das .
The PCC president Surajit Dutta said the success of the bandh had clerly demonstrated the people's lack of confidence in the Left front rule.
“The way they have been trying to establish one-party rule is not only condemnable but will be resisted by people in the state; the CPM has been shown the door in West Bengal and they will not get any sseat here also in the 2013 Assembly polls,” said Dutta. The CPM sources made no comment on the bandh except, that “unruly elements in Congress” had utilised the bandh to launch “unprovoked attacks” on CPM workers and supporters.
The state SFI leadership have decided to suspend their fund collection drive in colleges, especially from recipients of stipends. “We have taken a decision to suspend the collection, we will only accept voluntary subscription from members on roll. We were doing this to protect the academic atmosphere from any untoward incident or violence,” said Nabarun Deb, vice-president of SFI in Tripura.