Vol. XLIII No. 11 March 17, 2019

Meanwhile in Tripura

Rahul Sinha

The Third Martyr, Pradip Debbarma

THE number of martyrs in the BJP-IPFT coalition regime rose to three on Monday, June 4. Comrade Pradip Debbarma (35), an active member of CPI(M) and TYF was brutally murdered by saffron goons and his body was thrown away in a nearby rivulet. On Monday morning his body was recovered from that rivulet near a brick cline along the Assam-Agartala national highway in Jirania Subdivision of West Tripura.

Since the results of assembly elections, the house of Comrade Pradip has been attacked twice. He was not staying at home. On June 2, he had gone home to see his ailing mother. Since then he was missing. The BJP goons apprehended him in the way and killed him.

Before his killing, Comrades Rakesh Dhar and Ajendra Reang have been killed by the saffron brigade. The CPI(M) Tripura state secretariat condemned the murder of Comrade Pradip Debbarma.


Murderous Assault on SFI State President

In the evening of June 4, a mob of around 200 BJP goons including some women mobbed the house of Nilanjana Roy, state president of SFI at Vidyasagar area of Jogendranagar, Agartala. The mob assaulted Nilanjana and her bedridden mother and one of her cousins. She sustained injuries in the hand, leg and head. After the incident, when she was going to a hospital for medical treatment, a mob again attacked the car, vandalised it and prevented her from going to hospital by blocking the road for at least three hours. A well-meaning local shopkeeper who came to her help was also beaten up. Even after the police arrived at the spot, the unruly mob did not vacate the place. Only after three hours, the police could rescue her from a nearby house and bring her to the hospital. Even after she was brought to hospital, a local cable channel ran a news she had attacked one woman BJP leader.

In another incident in Melaghar of Sonamurra subdivision,  the BJP goons attacked DYFI state secretariat member Nityananda Barman. The goons attacked him when he was going to pick up his daughter from school. He was brutally beaten up with wooden logs. His injuries are grave and he is undergoing treatment in a local hospital. 


The Dark Shadow of Starvation

Gangatri Tripura of Govindbarri ADC village of Chhawmanu RD block, Dhalai district has come with a heap of Gandhaki, a local forest produce to Thalchharra market hoping to sell them and get money to buy rice for her children.  She and her village folks had to cross the border to fetch these, as there is neither food nor any work. The situation is same in most of the villages of Chhawmanu block. Almost all the tribal villages of Thalchharra, Govindbarri, Rajdhar, Malidhar, Garjanpasha, Natinmanu,Hariyamani Roaja parra, 32km, 23km,  there is no food in houses. Neither have they got any work through MNREGA or any other government scheme for last almost three months.  

These areas had witnessed starvation deaths last in 1991. The parliamentary delegation from New Delhi was shocked to learn about the plight of these people during the Congress-TUJS regime.  After the Left Front came back to office in 1993, these were the priority areas.  There was no dearth of work, and in lean season, the government provided double rations in these areas.  But after this BJP- IPFT has come to office, the situation is worsening with every passing day.

There are reports of starvation deaths from Rabirung Roaja Parra of Manikpur. At least 5-6 people have died already, though no government official is daring to report them. The hungry villagers have stormed into few BSF camps demanding food or bullets to be fired on them. The compassionate jawans however tried their best to feed them from their paltry stock of ration. In Kanchanpur Subdivision, North Tripura, there is no work in any of the three blocks and a number of youth have left houses for Mizoram and Meghalaya in search of work. CPI(M) Central Committee member and MP Jitendra Chowdhury after visiting these areas demanded an urgent intervention from the government. 

The new government however is in a complete mood of turning a blind eye to this pathetic situation. The deputy chief minister Jishnu Debbarma (BJP) and revenue minister NC Debbarma (IPFT) demanded that there was no problem of food  and work. On June 1st, in another press conference, Jitendra Chowdhury, MP reiterated this demand. Challenging the claim of the government, he said the starving population in hills is migrating to Bangladesh for food. The government should identify these distressed pockets and provide extra food and work there.

Meanwhile, the non-tribal villages too are facing acute shortage of work and are reaching Agartala in search of work as daily labourers.


Job Seeking Youth Cheated

462 youth including some girls from the state were sent to Tamil Nadu to work in various textile factories. They were chosen from a job fair in Agartala. The organisers held the event with the help from government employment and manpower department. After reaching TN, they faced an adverse situation. They were being paid much less than what was promised. They were not given the jobs that were promised and were put to live in an unhealthy atmosphere. The boys and girls disillusioned, had started venting out their grievance in social media.  Most of them have returned to the state. They met the deputy CM for redressal. But till date the government has not taken any action.


No New Jobs, Closure of Factories, Projects Shutting Down Lead to Job Losses 

The BJP-IPFT had won the election on a number of promises and employment for all was one of them. While the state of employment in private sector is evident from the job fair incident, inside the state, in the last three months not a single job has been created in government sector.  In the private sector, one DS group on December 12 last had sought permission from the government to close down its unit of Tulsi Zarda in AD Nagar industrial estate. The new government without taking any initiative to save the jobs gave a green signal to the owner and approved its closure, leading to loss of jobs for 170 workers and employees. The CITU had vehemently opposed the government decision. The BMS which has established its rule of muscle in every sector in the state is totally silent.

In another draconian move, the government has sacked all the employees engaged under JAICA (a project run by forest department with financial aid from Japan) and Indo- German forest project. With this move of the government, around 750 workers and employees have become jobless.  The AIKS has demanded that all these workers should be reinstated.