Lynchings trigger blame game in Tripura

The blame game is on in Tripura over three lynchings on Thursday, stoked by rumour-mongering.

By Debraj Deb in Agartala
  • Published 30.06.18
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The injured TSR jawan in Murabari. File picture

Agartala: The blame game is on in Tripura over three lynchings on Thursday, stoked by rumour-mongering.

The lynchings took place as people, agitated over rumours of child-lifting, attacked "strangers" in various parts of the state.

Assistant inspector-general Smriti Ranjan Das told The Telegraph on Friday that a woman was lynched at Laxmibil in Bishalgarh subdivision of Sipahijala district in the wee hours on Thursday when a mob attacked the group of four men and two women. During the day, a garment hawker was lynched at Murabari in Mohanpur subdivision of West Tripura district. In the evening, Sukanta Chakrabo-rty, engaged by local authorities at Kalacherra in South Tripura district to spread awareness against rumours, was lynched as he was going around appealing to people. Besides, many were injured in mob violence in the state.

The Opposition blamed the BJP-IPFT government for the rumour-mongering that led to the lynchings.

CPM spokesperson Goutam Das, speaking to reporters here late on Thursday evening, held law minister Ratan Lal Nath responsible for rumour-mongering given his comments following the murder of Purna Biswas, 11, in Mohanpur subdivision. "How can a minister make such claims without any verification? He should take moral responsibility and resign from his post," he said, adding that if Nath declines to resign, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb should sack him from the cabinet.

PCC vice-president Tapas De said on Friday that Deb and Nath were responsible for the three deaths, as their baseless comments on organ-harvesting rackets and sealing of international border had triggered mob violence. He demanded a judicial inquiry to "unearth the real culprits behind the kidney racket scare".

The Congress also criticised the government for shutting down Internet and SMS services for 48 hours since Thursday evening. "It appears as if Emergency has been imposed. The government is deliberately creating further scare," De said. A delegation of the party will meet governor K.N. Tripathi, seeking his intervention, he added.

Purna's body had been found in a jungle near his house, with deep wounds on the neck and back, on Tuesday. Nath, who is Mohanpur legislator, had visited Purno's family on Tuesday night. Thereafter, a video went viral on social media that showed Nath as saying that wounds on the boy's body suggested that his kidneys might have been extracted. The chief minister was also quoted in the local media, saying the India-Bangladesh border would be sealed to ensure that kidney smugglers do not get out.

However, Deb later said post-mortem report had revealed that no internal organs had been removed. Nath, too, shied away from his comments. He told reporters on Friday that there were no reports of child-lifting racket in the state and that the CPM was "hatching conspiracies" and "spreading rumours" which had led to the lynchings.

"All the people arrested in these incidents were found to be CPM cadres. This entire episode is a blue-print of the CPM," he alleged.

He, however, defended his "kidney racket" comment. "People were emotionally charged there. I voiced their opinion to control the situation. Had I spoken otherwise, the situation might have turned worse," he said.