April 04, 2018

India - Tripura: on takeover of minority graveyard land by BJP leaders


Attempts to Usurp Minority Graveyard Land by BJP Leaders Condemned in Tripura
The attacks on minority communities have gained a strong momentum after the BJP has come to power in the state.
Newsclick Report
03 Apr 2018
Tripura BJP

In a disturbing turn of events, detrimental to the principle of Fundamental Rights of the Indian Constitution, reports have surfaced, about continuous attempts of curbing religious freedom of the minority segment of population in Tripura, especially after BJP formed the State Government and the Left Front suffered an electoral loss for the first time in the last 25 years.

The latest addition to that list has been the attempts of the BJP leaders to usurp registered graveyard lands of the minority community in the capital city of Agartala, near South Joynagar bridge, about eight kilometres away from the state secretariat. According to reports obtained, BJP leaders installed their party flags on Sunday, in the minority graveyard spread over several acres, and which has been in use for the last 150 years.

BJP leader Pradip Das, the main instigator, demanded that it is their family's property and along with some BJP workers, planted the flags in the graveyard.

However, according to local people, the graveyard land actually belonged to the forefathers of one Abdul Ahad Miyan, and the land was used as their personal graveyard for more than a century. Years later, Miyan registered the land as a community graveyard and gave it up for communal use. This had earned him rave praise in an area where many minority families resided.

But a few weeks after the Tripura elections results were declared, Pradip Das started claiming the land as that of their family and enthused the BJP workers to try to usurp the graveyard land. As the first step in that direction, he planted BJP flags in the graveyard. The BJP RSS leaders, in association with VHP workers, also carried on vandalism at the residences of the minority families, and took away several cows from the stable of these families, and donated them to an Ashram in Agartala.

This incident has created a deep anguish in the area, where both the communities have resided amicably for centuries

Talking to us, CPI(M) Tripura State Secretary Bijan Dhar has termed it “as the tip of the iceberg".

According to him, after the BJP Chief Minister was sworn to office in the state, the incidents of attacking and harassing the minority segment of the population has become quite frequent. And not only that, the minority population are being forbidden to undergo "Tabliq’’( movement to offer religious tributes in other states), and there have been instances where beards of the religious minded persons of the community have been shaved off.

There are numerous reports, Dhar said, about how the minority communities are "forced to utter the phrase 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'" and if anyone refuses, he or she gets beaten up. In several areas of the state, a “Fatwa" by the local BJP leaders, as well by the State leaders of the BJP upon their visits, have been given that state that the resident's food habits should change henceforward and that "beef" will not be allowed in their diet anymore. Even instances of snatching all the livestock, especially all the cows belonging to the minority families, have occurred.

At Buxa Nagar area in South Tripura, from where CPI(M) leader and former minister Shahid Choudhury won with a huge margin in the assembly elections. But there too, Left activists belonging to minority communities were targeted and CPI(M) offices were burnt down.

"These unprecedented attacks on religious minorities are a part of the all-out attack of the BJP on the democracy and the democratic norms of the country. These incidents were unheard of in the history of the state earlier, and has started only after the BJP came to power in Tripura," Bijan Dhar said.