Tripura Police Slap UAPA on Members of Fact-Finding Team That Probed Anti-Muslim Violence


The mosque where Muslim CRPF cops would pray vandalised by Hindu right wing mobs in Tripura

In their report titled “#Muslim lives matter” they have accused the state government of giving free hands to the Hindutva mobs

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Two of the four members of a fact-finding team that investigated recent anti-Muslim violence in Tripura have been booked by Tripura Police under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The notice by West Agartala Police Station was served on Wednesday, November 3, on Mukesh, a Delhi-based activist of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL); and Ansar Indori, Secretary of National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO).

They along with Supreme Court lawyers Ehtesham Hashmi and Amit Srivastav released their report on Tuesday, November 2, at the Press Club in the national capital. In their report titled as “Humanity under Attack in Tripura; #Muslim lives matter” they have directly held the BJP-led state government responsible for the misery caused to the minority community. They said that if the Tripura government had wanted, it could have thwarted premeditated violence against the Muslims but it allegedly gave free hands to the Hindutva mobs.

The cases against Mukesh and Indori have been registered at West Agartala Police Station. It says “the social media posts circulated by you/statements made by you for promoting enmity between religious groups as well as provoking the people of different religious communities to cause beach of peace.”

The charges registered under IPC are Sections 153-A and B (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming information), 503 (criminal intimidation), 504 ( (intentional insult with intent to provoke the breach of peace) and 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

“During the investigation, your involvement has been found in connection with the case. As such, there are reasonable grounds to question you to ascertain the facts and circumstances relating to the case,” the notice further states.

Both the activists who are also lawyers by profession have been asked to “immediately delete these fabricated and false statements/comments made/circulated by you in the social media”. They have also been directed to appear before the West Agartala Police Station by November 10.

The fact-finding report has described what happened in Tripura as “a targeted violence against Muslims”. It said that the violence was perpetrated by supporters of Hindu nationalist groups Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Hindu Jagran Manch Tripura following communal attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh.

The report maps the attacks on mosques and Muslim properties explaining how their shops and homes were pointedly targetted by rioters who conducted protest rallies across the state.

During four-day-long violence against Muslims, 12 mosques, nine shops, and three houses belonging to Muslims were targeted, the report finds. In all Muslims were targeted at 51 places, it says, adding that they are shocked and currently in a state of fear due to the violence that they had not seen previously.

Mohammad Yusuf, 40, a shopkeeper in the Rawa area says, according to the report, that he has suffered a loss of six lakh rupees due to arson. “Though he knows the arsonist name, however, he is reluctant to name them due to apprehension of harm that might be inflicted upon him again,” the report said.

Similarly, the electronics shop of 34-year-old Amir Hussain was looted by a mob who had come to set it on fire. According to the report, they did not do so because adjacent to the shop was the home of a Hindu man Manik Debnath who pleaded the mob to not burn the shop as his house could also catch fire. Debnath, however, refused to name the rioters. He told the team he will give names to the investigating agency.

During the visit the team went to Chamtila masjid in the Panisagar region and found that the masjid was vandalised. Tripura police had repeatedly claimed that the reports of vandalism were fake.

“The claims of Tripura police are wrong,” said the fact-finding team.

The report also says the anti-Muslim rallies shouted derogatory slogans against Islam and the Prophet.

Locals in Panisagar told the fact-finding team that announcements were made calling on Hindus to join rallies. VHP people were saying that Hindus who would not participate in this rally will be boycotted, the report says.

The fact-finding team was told that even earth movers were brought in to demolish mosques and Muslim properties in Rawa Bazaaar “but all the men, children, young and old of the village started gathering near the mosque to save the mosque”.

The members of the fact-finding team said that the violence could have been prevented if strict measures were taken, saying it was a “result of the irresponsibility of the administration” and “extremist organisations.”

Four days before this incident, members of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind met Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Dev and informed him that “there is a danger to the peace between Hindus and Muslims. Despite this, the government not taking any action is tantamount to sponsoring this violence,” they saidin the report.

The report also lashes out at police for allegedly ignoring the complaints of Muslims for cases against rioters.

It recommends high-level inquiry by a retired high court judge to probe the incidents and filing of separate FIR based on the survivors’ complaints.

It also seeks compensation for the loss suffered by victims due to the violence.

The report makes 8 demands:

  • The Government should make an inquiry committee headed by a retired High Court judge and get the whole incident investigated.
  • Separate FIR must be filed on the complaint of victims.
  • Due to this incident, all the people whose businesses have suffered financial loss should get appropriate compensation by the state government and it should be compensated soon so that these innocent people can get their life back on track and their businesses and work can resume smoothly.
  • The government should get the religious places damaged in arson and sabotage rebuilt at their expense.
  • Despite the possibility of violence, the police officer not taking any action should be held responsible. They should be immediately removed from their post and the police station and a new police officer should be appointed.
  • Strict action should be taken against persons and organizations who raised slogans insulting Prophet Mohammad in the rally so that the cordial atmosphere of the state is not spoiled again.
  • Strict legal action should be taken against the people who create false and provocative messages and them viral on social media, and against all the people and organizations who repeatedly incite people and create ruckus for the rally. Case should be registered against these people and strict action should be taken against them.
  • Whoever is guilty in this riot, and have engaged in looting and arson, should be investigated in the fast-track court without any discrimination.
Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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