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Tripura minister’s dog goes missing

Agartala, April 7: Tripura’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Ashutosh Jindal received a bizarre complaint yesterday from the state’s senior minister for tribal welfare and animal resource development, Aghore Debbarma.

The complaint from the minister and veteran indigenous leader stated that his pet dog (country breed) had been abducted by unknown people from near the gate of his official residence in the heart of Agartala on April 5. When his reaction was sought to the complaint Jindal suppressed a smile but said, “I did receive a complaint yesterday and have already ordered police to investigate the complaint and trace the dog if it is alive.”

The returning officer of West Tripura parliamentary constituency and district magistrate of West Tripura, Abhishek Singh also received a copy of the complaint. Singh could not be contacted for a reaction.

Aghore Debbarma refused to remark on the issue. “I have stated my complaint in writing to the CEO and am waiting for action,” said Debbarma.

However, sources close to the minister said he was very fond of his pet Lalu and is still mourning its loss. They said on April 3 companies of Manipur Rifles of the India Reserve Battalion, with a fair sprinkling of Nagas, were posted at Umakanta Academy, opposite the minister’s residence, which houses the EVMs and camp office of the election department.

“The Nagas in the three companies of Manipur Rifles have their own mess for cooking food. On the evening of April 5 some jawans proceeded towards the gate of the tribal welfare minister’s residence and picked up his pet dog that was moving around in the area. A guard in the neighbouring official residence of finance minister Badal Chowdhury protested but the jawans disregarded the protests and took off with the dog,” said a source.

“We contacted the company commander of Manipur Rifles but he said they were vegetarians and could not say anything about the missing dog. He expressed his sorrow over the issue,” the source said.

The three companies of Manipur Rifles were sent to their places of posting in different parts of West Tripura parliamentary constituency last evening.

The councillor of ward 35 of the Agartala Municipal Council, Bipad Bandhu Das of Aralia in the Pratapgarh Assembly segment, had taken an initiative to save the dogs of his area. “When I came to know that security personnel from Nagaland were posted in the Aralia higher secondary school, which houses a major polling station in my locality, I approached the officers and jawans and requested them to spare the dogs of my area. It worked as no dog has been reported missing till now,” said Das.