5 ministers heckled at carnage site

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  • Published 18.08.03

Agartala, Aug. 18: Five cabinet ministers of the Left Front government were heckled yesterday by residents in Kamalnagar area when they arrived on a visit.

Mounting ethnic tension has been reported from Kamalnagar and neighbouring villages of Kalyanpur police station and Krishnapur areas under Teliamura police station, where 30 civilians were massacred on Thursday.

Police sources said the five ministers faced the fury of a mob when they visited Kamalnagar area and tried to speak to the affected people.

Chief minister Manik Sarkar, who always shies away from visiting trouble spots, deputed five of his cabinet colleagues — Keshav Mazumder, Manik Dey, Pabitra Kar, Sukumar Barman and Pranab Debbarma — to visit the area yesterday, more than 40 hours after the massacre of 14 villagers.

Local people in Kamalnagar organised a road blockade, demanding a permanent Tripura State Rifles post. Police officials tried to dissuade the villagers but they persisted. A group of CPM activists then beat up three persons.

The ministerial team was hit with brickbats and abused after their arrival. It left within minutes, having failed to persuade the people to listen.

However, the team held a meeting at Krishnapur market with villagers from Barlunga and assured them that their demand for a security camp would be fulfilled.

Three more companies of the CRPF, another company of the army and two more companies of the Assam Rifles have been deployed afresh for quelling any outbreak of ethnic violence.

The ethnic polarisation in the wake of the massacre became evident from the departure of all tribal government employees living in rented houses in Kalyanpur market.

They were followed by tribal students living in the hostel attached to Kalyanpur higher secondary school. Sources said a number of tribal patients in Kalyanpur hospital also left without informing the hospital staff on Friday, hours after 14 non-tribals fell to militant bullets.

More than 300 non-tribal families have abandoned their homes in Kamalnagar and taken shelter in the high school of the village. A similar exodus has been reported from Barlunga area in Madhya Krishnapur village under Teliamura police station.