Agartala, Oct. 6: The fledgling Trinamul Congress in Tripura has landed in a major controversy because of party MLA and former leader of the Opposition Sudip Roy Barman's attempt to forcibly occupy a building in the Colonel Chowmuhuni area in the heart of the town.
A large group of Trinamul workers - all defectors from the Congress - including Sushanta Chowdhury, Vicky Prasad, Panna Deb - invaded Gayatri Bhawan, a two-storey building on 4,752 square feet land, at 11am and asked all the tenants to immediately vacate the building and get on a truck they had brought.
The Trinamul workers also ransacked furniture on the rented premises.
The members of Colonel Chowmuhuni Juba Samstha club tried to resist them and called in police.
The officer-in-charge of West Agartala police station, N.K. Saha, reached the spot with a large posse of policemen. Sub-divisional magistrate (Sadar) Sumit Roy Chowdhury also rushed there to tackle the situation.
Saha said he had found Trinamul MLA Sudip Roy Barman's wife Pinki, Sudeshna Bhattacharjee, wife of Sudip's friend Suman and Sudip's elder brother Sandip on the spot giving instructions to the Trinamul workers.
"We convinced the club members as well as the Trinamul workers that the matter can be settled peacefully. The tenants were given one month's time to shift to a different place," Saha said.
He said Barman had reached the spot within no time with documents and showed the SDM that the building had been purchased in the names of his wife and Suman Bhattacharjee's wife in December last year.
"The SDM was apparently satisfied and requested all concerned not to create trouble in the area where tribals and non-tribals live peacefully," said Saha.
The officer-in-charge added that one of the tenants, Himani Das, 38, had filed an FIR against Trinamul workers and supporters, including the elder brother of Barman, accusing them of harassing and molesting her and damaging her properties.
The club's president, Dilip Debbarma, said they would thwart any attempt to use force by Barman and his band of Trinamul workers.
The news reached the top-level Trinamul leadership in Calcutta.
Barman told the media this morning that he and his friend Bhattacharjee had legitimately purchased Gayatri Bhawan building from its actual owners in December last year through a valid and registered deed. "Is it a crime to purchase property validly through payment of money? An impression is being created as if it was a forcible occupation but the truth is that the SDM (Sadar) was satisfied with the papers and documents produced. It is a section of members of the club who are creating trouble to extort money. They brought in some tenants only a few days ago," Barman said.
The DYFI, the youth wing of the CPM, has decided to protest against the trouble at Colonel Chowmuhuni, a sensitive mixed-populated area.
Yesterday, a meeting was held by the pro-CPM members of the club in the locality to protest the attempt to forcibly occupy Gayatri Bhawan by the Trinamul supporters.