Skip to main content

Centre must remove Tripura governor Tathagata Roy for justifying act of vandalism in the state

By Battini Rao*
The tiny state of Tripura in the north-east of India witnessed unprecedented violence and vandalism by supporters of BJP/IPFT alliance after its victory in recent elections. According to a report ("The Indian Express", 7 March), 87 of the 90 CPI(M) offices in Bishalgarh subdivision near Agartala have been ransacked, and many CPI(M) supporters are living huddled in the party office in main town under police protection. Tripura Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) has stated that violence was also widespread in West Tripura and Gomti districts.
"The Telegraph" quoted CPI(M) state secretary as saying that personal properties of the party's leaders were also attacked. A statue of Lenin in a college in Belonia town was demoslished by BJP supporters. Videos of the demolition received widespread publicity in social and conventional media.
What is most shocking is that such acts of public violence have got public support from the highest constitutional authority in the state, its Governor Tathagata Roy. While the BJP supporters were on rampage, he reportedly tweeted ‘What one democratically elected government can do, another democratically government can undo'. The Modi government appointed governor appears to be ignorant of the basic condition that in a democratic order, no government, much less a political party has any right to unleash public violence against anyone, including its political opponents.
Since its beginnings, ideology and practice of public violence and vandalism have been integral to Hindutva politics. These are seen as legitimate tools to achieve the goal of a Hindu Rashtra. RSS and its front organisations have organized and participated in communal riots against religious minorities, including ones during 1947.
Hindutva ideologue Savarkar narrowly escaped conviction in the Gandhi murder case on technical points. Hindutva organizations were responsible for the most shameful act of public vandalism in post- independence India, the destruction of Babri mosque in Ayodhya in 1991.
The success of BJP under Modi has emboldened its supporters to indulge in acts of violence and vandalism more widely. Crowds have entered and killed minorities in their homes after rumours of ‘beef eating’ were purposefully spread. ‘Gaurakshaks’ have assaulted and killed farmers, cattle traders, and Dalits engaged in skinning dead animals.
Minority migrant workers have been killed, burnt, and the entire sordid act filmed with loud proclamations against ‘love jihad’. Videos of such assaults are circulated widely, supposedly as a record of success of Hindutva followers against their enemies. Open or covert encouragement for these acts comes from the highest quarters. Modi regularly follows people on Twitter who gloated over the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a staunch critic of Hindutva.
Following the demolition of Lenin statue in Tripura, H Raja, the BJP general secretary in Tamil Nadu, wrote an Facebook post expecting similar treatment for statues of Periyar, whom he called a casteist. As if on cue, a Periyar statue was vandalized in Tirupattur town the next day.
The current spate of vandalism against public statues has included attacks on statues of Ambedkar in Meerut (UP) and Tiruvattuyur (Tamil Nadu), and a statue of Gandhi in Kannur (Kerala). In an act of retaliatory vandalism, a statue of BJP ideologue SP Mukherjee was blackened by a group of students in Kolkata. It is significant that leaders like Lenin, Periyar, Ambedkar, and Gandhi, fought against injustice and inequality, in one form or another.
Lenin, the leader of Russian revolution, was a great votary of independence of colonies from imperialism, and had praised mass character of India’s freedom movement. It was no accident that revolutionary patriots like Bhagat Singh appreciated him greatly. Periyar and Ambedkarfought against caste inequities within Hinduism. Vandalism of their statues is a result of still prevalent caste hatred. Vandalism of public statues is a deliberate act meant to attack public rights of others. Needless to say, it has no place in a democracy.
Targeted violence, as seen in Tripura, cannot be dissociated from wider processes of change. Public violence against the weak and vulnerable, poor, minorities, Dalits, women, adivasis, migrant workers, etc. has been a regular feature of Indian society. The success of BJP under Modi has brought a new significant element in the form of sharper ideological and political justifications for violence.
While the politics of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ justifies violence against minorities, liberals and leftists, the discourse of so-called ‘development’ justifies forced dispossession of urban poor, adivasis and farmers. People of India should realise the violent core of the RSS/BJP ideology, and the way policies of BJP governments in center and state are turning India into a more violent and lumpenised society, in which democratic rights of every Indian are under greater threat.
People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) demands that those who indulged in post election result violence and vandalism in Tripura, and attacked statues of Lenin, Amdedkar, Periyar, Gandhi and SP Mukherjee, be brought to justice. It also demands immediate removal of state governor Tathagata Roy. People like him who do not appreciate even basic requirements of a democratic order have no right to hold any constitutional post.
---
*Convener, People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS)

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."