The Tripura police have registered a case against Congress president Pradyot Kishore Deb Burman for slapping a man accused of attacking the convoy of his party’s Lok Sabha candidate, inside a police station at Tulasikhar in Khowai District, nearly 70 kilometres from Agartala.
“We will serve him a notice to appear for interrogation within 2-3 days,” Khowai Police Station’s officer in-charge Partha Chakraborty said.
Khowai police registered a case against Pradyot after a video showing him slapping Mintu Debbarma inside the police station on Thursday went viral on social media.
The BJP has criticized him for taking the law into his hands. “If he can slap someone in a police station, he can murder anyone anywhere,” state Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath said.
Mintu Debbarma, 30, and a few others allegedly pelted stones at the convoy of Pragya Deb Burman, the Congress candidate for the East Tripura constituency (ST reserved) and elder sister of the party chief while she was returning from an election rally on Thursday afternoon.
The police arrested four people, including Mintu, for their involvement in the incident. Two separate cases including one suo moto by the police were lodged against the four.
“We have lodged a suo moto case against the four for attacking other convoys besides the Congress candidate’s convoy. They have been taken to court on Friday,” said Uddab Debbarma, officer in-charge of Champahowar Police Station.
Both Pradyot and Pragya accused the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), an alliance partner of the ruling BJP of being the mastermind of the incident. NC Debbarma, the IPFT chief and cabinet minister in the state’s BJP-IPFT government admitted Mintu was his party’s supporter but claimed he was falsely linked with the attack.
Protesting against the attack on Pragya’s convoy and the arrests, activists of the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), a regional party that signed a MoU for an alliance with the Congress for Lok Sabha polls, blocked the road at Tulasikhar on Friday morning.
The blockade was later withdrawn after the police resorted to a mild lathi-charge. No one was injured, the police said.
NC Debbarma, also a contender for the East Tripura seat, accused Pradyot of distributing money to influence voters and trying to create ethnic violence with his slogan ‘Poila Jati Ulo Party’ that means ‘The people first, party later’. The slogan was initially raised during a series of anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill protests in January this year.
“Huge amounts of money are being given away to lure the voters. Our four leaders, including three women leaders joined the Congress in exchange for money. The Congress chief has violated the model code of conduct and we demand that the chief electoral officer should take action against him,” NC Debbarma said.
Polling in the East Tripura constituency is scheduled to be held on April 23.
Apr 19, 2019 18:44 IST