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

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Visually challenged lady seeks appointment with Gujarat CM, is 'unofficially' detained

By Pankti Jog*
It was a usual noon of November 10. I got a phone call on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline No 9924085000 from Ranjanben of Khambhat, narrating her “disgraceful” experience after she had requested for an appointment with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. She wanted to meet Rupani, on tour of the Khambhat area in Central Gujarat as part of his Janvikas Jumbesh (Campaign for Development).

People's pressure? GPCB mining cancellation 'notice' to top cement unit in Gujarat

By Sagar Rabari*
Environmental Clearance (EC) was given to Ultratech Cement Co Ltd for limestone mining in villages Talli and Bambhor of Talaja taluka in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat on January 5, 2017. EC was issued ignoring, overriding and undermining opposition from local farmers to mining activity in the area. The mining in these two villages covers an area of 193.3268 hectares (ha), while the entire project is spread over an area of 1,715.1311 ha.

Violent 'Ajodhya' campaign in 1840s after British captured Kabul, destroyed Jama Masjid

Counterview Desk  Irfan Ahmad, professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, and author of “Islamism and Democracy in India” (Princeton University Press, 2009), short-listed for the 2011 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize for the best study in Social Sciences, in his "initial thoughts" on the Supreme Court judgment on the Babri-Jam Janmaboomi dispute has said, while order was “lawful”, it was also “awful.”

Bullet train acquisition: Land holding worth Rs 1.5 crore, Gujarat govt 'offer' Rs 8 lakh

By RK Misra*
Foundation stones laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi litter India’s cities, towns and villages, but there are few projects which he has pursued with such perseverance and tenacity as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train one. However, the overwhelming state power notwithstanding, the farmers, whose lands are being acquired for the Modi government’s dream project, have no plans to give up the fight.

NHRC notice to Gujarat chief secretary following silicosis deaths in Rajkot

By Our Representative
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Gujarat chief secretary and the district magistrate, Rajkot, to respond to a complaint filed by health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the People's Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, regarding the alleged death of Raju Prakash Parihar and two others reportedly because of silicosis, a fatal occupation disease, in Rajkot, one of Gujarat’s top cities.

Banned? Indian ports 'received' 38 US plastic waste containers reexported from Indonesia

By Rajiv Shah
An Indonesia-based international environmental watchdog group has dug out what it has called “a global pollution shell game”, stating how officials in Indonesia approved re-exports of “illegal” US waste shipments containing plastics mainly to India, as also to other Asian countries -- Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam -- instead of returning them to the US “as promised.”