Tripura Governor justifies toppling of Lenin’s statue 

Even before the new BJP government is installed in Tripura, Governor Tathagata Ray justifies vandalism and pulling down a statue of Lenin in Tripura

Photo courtesy: social media 
Photo courtesy: social media

Ashutosh Sharma

Justifying the act of BJP supporters pulling down a statue of the leader of the Russian revolution Vladimir Lenin in Tripura, Governor Tathagata Roy on Tuesday tweeted : “What one democratically elected government can do another democratically elected government can undo. And vice versa”.

Ironically, while an excavator (universally known as JCB) possibly belonging to the state government was used to pull down the statue, the BJP government in Tripura is yet to take over. And following complaints lodged by CPM functionaries, police have lodged an FIR, arrested the driver of the JCB and let him off on bail.

The statue had stood at the centre of a College Square for the last five years in Belonia town which is about 90 kms south of the state capital Agartala. The statute was installed in 2013 at a cost of three lakh rupees.

A group of BJP supporters sporting saffron T-shirts and caps while celebrating the party’s victory in the assembly poll brought down the statue on Monday afternoon amidst slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai.” Tapas Dutta, a local functionary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), told The Indian Express that eyewitnesses had told him “after the statue fell, the bust was dismembered from the body. Then BJP workers played football with Lenin's head.”

Utkarsh Singh, ABP journalist reported that “Police seems helpless…After BJP’s victory in the state, the number of such incidents is so overwhelming that they can’t do much about it. According to police, in this incident, the BJP workers got the driver of the excavator drunk first. …there are many reports of vandalism and arson pouring in from different parts of the state. And the CPI (M) is squarely blaming BJP-IPFT combine.

Sharing a photograph of the incident on Twitter, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav posted: “People taking down Lenin’s statue ... not in Russia; it is in Tripura. ‘Chalo Paltai' ( let us change).” Madhav, however, later deleted the tweet.

The incident and Governor’s response to it has evoked scathing criticism. Here’re some of the reactions:

Local newspapers in Tripura, however, barely carried reports on the incidents of vandalism and arson. “In West Tripura, prohibitory orders had been imposed from 8 pm on Monday and it will continue for the next two days. Assembly of five or more persons with or without arms, sharp edges, pointed weapons and any other objects including stick, iron rod, bows, arrows and stones has been prohibited in those areas,” a report on front page of Tripura Times read on Tuesday.

Tripura Observer, another English daily, also published pictures of “injured BJP workers after attack of a large team of police officers at Dhalabil Panchayat of Khowai”.

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