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

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

US Kashmiri diaspora body: World leaders, UN 'not acting', India enjoys total impunity

Counterview Desk
Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly session, to begin on September 17 in New York, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, a non-profit organization based in Ohio, US, claiming to focus on providing information on Kashmir, has regretted that despite "violent" behaviour of Indian authorities in Kashmir, they enjoy "total impunity" across the world.

Jharkhand riverine terminal: 485 families 'displaced', lose land, livelihood in Sahibgunj

Counterview Desk
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposes to inaugurate on Thursday India’s second riverine Multi-Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj in Jharkhand, built at a cost of Rs 290 crore reportedly in a record time of about two years, several civil rights organizations* have said that the government has failed to address the high-profile terminal’s social and environmental concerns.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canals, work for 13,889 km ha…

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "warmest greetings"…

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.

US Air Force expert smells regional security threat following Chandrayaan mission

Counterview Desk
A United States Air Force expert, writing on India’s Chandrayaan -2 mission, has expressed the apprehension that Indian moon probe’s “failure” won’t stop an Asian space race that “threatens regional security.” Affiliated with the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Wendy Whitman Cobb, who is Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, believes like other space powers, India may be “seeking to improve its technology”, but advances can “also bring greater security concerns.”
Currently, admits Cobb, “These efforts have been primarily civilian and peaceful in nature.” However, India’s turn toward the military uses of space, so much so that lately it has been developing its own military satellites providing services such as remote sensing, tracking and communications “with greater frequency” has begun to “concern” the neighbours.
In her disclosure statement to an article published in the e-journal “The Conversation” Cobb, however, states that whatever…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are about 180 units in in the to…