Crude bombs recovered after violence between BJP and Congress in Tripura

Two live crude bombs were recovered in Rautkhola village in Tripura’s Sepahijala district on Thursday, a day after clashes between workers of the ruling BJP and the Congress injured at least three people in the same area in the Bishalgarh subdivision.

“They were lying on the roadside. These are country-made crude bombs. We have defused them but the investigation is going on,” a police officer told, adding that the bomb squad personnel who defused them had been sent to look for remains of splinters from crude bombs hurled during Wednesday’s violence.

The violence broke out after a group of alleged BJP supporters attacked Congress supporters who were setting up party flags in the Routkhola area. As police tried to intervene and bring the situation under control, stones and crude bombs were hurled at them.

“A suo motu complaint was registered against 17 people for attacking police and common people. Four among them were arrested,” the police officer said.

Police identified the accused as Sohel Rana, Prabir Sarkar, Bapan Das and Madhab Debnath — all Congress supporters. They were remanded in judicial custody for two weeks.

In the aftermath of the violence, the local administration clamped restrictions on public movement under Criminal Procedure Code section 144. The curbs were lifted on Thursday morning though police remain deployed in the area.

Opposition leader Manik Sarkar hit out at the BJP, saying the saffron party was fast losing its support base and resorting to terror tactics out of desperation and fear. The CPM veteran and former chief minister said that it was BJP activists who attacked Congress supporters engaged in party activities in Routkhola.

Sarkar, who has often stuck to Left unity even in the face of appeals for larger, strategic unity among non-BJP parties, said political attacks would not be limited to any one party and therefore would have to be dealt with “unitedly”.

The BJP criticised Sarkar for “defending the Congress” and said his comments had revealed a secret understanding between the party and the communists.

“It is clear that both parties are trying to come close again. The communist party was in power here owing to the collusion by those who are now in the Opposition leadership. A drama is being staged. But people know the truth,” BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya told reporters in the evening.

Bhattacharya denied his party workers were involved in the violence and said Congress supporters had attacked the saffron party’s youth wing leaders to create unrest ahead of the elections.

Tripura will go to the polls after five months. The state’s 60-member Assembly has 41 ruling MLAs — 35 from the BJP and 6 from the IPFT. Fifteen MLAs belong to the CPM while the other seats, whose occupants were disqualified following defection, are vacant.

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