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TMC's Sayani Ghosh Arrested On `murder Attempt' Charge In Tripura; Abhishek's Rally Disallowed

TMC's Sayani Ghosh arrested on `murder attempt' charge in Tripura; Abhishek's rally disallowed


Agartala/Kolkata, Nov 21 (PTI) Tripura police on Sunday arrested actor-turned TMC leader Sayani Ghosh on charges of attempt to murder after she allegedly disrupted a meeting of state Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb by shouting “Khela hobe” (We will play) on Saturday night.

The arrest and an alleged attack on TMC workers by unknown persons whom the Trinamool Congress believes to be BJP supporters happened barely 24 hours before the Mamata Banerjee-led party's national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee is slated to reach Agartala to “stand beside attacked party workers.” Police sources said Abhishek's plan to hold a rally in Agartala has been disallowed in view of "prevailing Covid norms." Ghosh, the youth unit secretary of TMC West Bengal, was arrested after being called in for questioning in a police station in Agartala, a police official said.

A delegation of TMC MPs are flying out to Delhi on Sunday night to meet Home Minister Amit Shah to protest alleged police excesses in Tripura, party sources said.

The Trinamool Congress is locked in a charged political battle in trying to gain a foothold in the Northeasern state ahead of the 2023 assembly elections. As a prelude it plans to contest the civic polls to be held on November 25.

Sub-divisional Police Officer (Sadar) Ramesh Yadav said Ghosh was arrested under IPC Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 153A (promoting disharmony between two groups) for her comments against the chief minister.

Yadav also some persons who were with her allegedly threw stones at a street corner meeting which was being addressed by the chief minister here on Saturday night.

A police official, who did not want to be named, said a BJP worker lodged a complaint alleging that Ghosh had reached the spot where the meeting was being held and shouted "Khela hobey” and claimed that there were not even 50 people in the gathering.

"Khela hobey" is a slogan used by the TMC during the assembly election in West Bengal held in March-April this year.

Ghosh was detained for questioning in a police station and arrested later.

TMC leaders alleged that their workers were also roughed up by BJP supporters outside the East Agartala Women’s police station, a charge denied by the saffron party.

"Our National Gen Secy Shri @abhishekaitc will reach Tripura tomorrow morning to stand beside our workers who were BRUTALLY ATTACKED by BJP goons. Permission to land today was denied. An autocrat is running the show in Tripura and we will fight tooth & nail to end this torture!" the party said in a Twitter post.

The TMC had earlier said Banerjee, in a change of the scheduled programme, will reach Agartala on Sunday itself.

Abhishek Banerjee in a tweet accused the BJP government in the North-eastern state of disregarding Supreme Court orders on the rights of political parties to hold peaceful programmes.

"@BjpBiplab has become so UNABASHEDLY BRAZEN that now even SUPREME COURT ORDERS DOESN'T SEEM TO BOTHER HIM.

"He has repeatedly sent goons to attack our supporters & our female candidates instead of ensuring their safety! DEMOCRACY BEING MOCKED under @BJP4Tripura," Banerjee said in the Twitter post, attaching a video of the alleged attack of Sunday morning.

The Supreme Court recently directed Tripura police to ensure that no political party is prevented from exercising their rights in accordance with the law for campaigning in a peaceful manner.

Police said some unidentified miscreants attacked a group of people who gathered near the police station during the questioning of Ghosh, but also claimed no one was injured.

However TMC officials claimed the attackers were affiliated to the ruling BJP and their workers sustained severe injuries.

"Gujarat model in Tripura. All India Trinamool Congress will never accept such fascist brutality. Trinamool MPs headed to Delhi. Now. Eyeball to eyeball," tweeted party MP Derek O' Brien.

The TMC has sought an appointment with Amit Shah and the party leaders are scheduled to sit on a dharna from Monday morning.

TMC sources said the party delegation will comprise more than 15 members.

"This is the HORRIFIC state of affairs in Tripura under @BjpBiplab's Gunda Raj! While our leaders & workers are being MERCILESSLY ATTACKED every moment, @Tripura_Police continues to shield the @BJP4Tripura assailants! Urging the Hon'ble Supreme Court to take strict actions," the TMC said in another tweet.

In the Tripura civic polls, the ruling BJP has already won 112 out of 334 seats uncontested across 20 urban local bodies including Agartala Municipal Corporation. This will be the first civic election that the BJP will face after coming to power in 2018.

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev claimed that goons owing allegiance to BJP attacked her party's leaders and workers on the premises of the police station after Ghosh reached there.

"Our candidates were beaten up; their houses vandalized and though complaints were filed, no action was taken. Police here are acting in a one-sided manner,” she told reports.

The TMC has repeatedly alleged that its candidates were being prevented from campaigning by the ruling BJP supporters there.

TMC West Bengal secretary Kunal Ghosh said if this is what is democracy in Tripura, "we would recommend to our leaders to do the same thing (to the BJP) in West Bengal”.

The CPI(M) on Sunday too condemned the arrest of Trinamool Congress leader Ghosh and the alleged attack on TMC members outside a police station in Tripura.

In a statement, the CPI(M) said that as the date for the civic body polls is drawing near, the "fascist terror" of the BJP is increasing. "Leaders and candidates of all parties, including the Left parties, were attacked several times and despite complaints, police did not arrest the culprits. Police are playing the role of silent spectators," the statement, issued by the CPI(M) state secretariat, said.

Tripura BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya however denied the allegation, saying the saffron party workers did not ever attack anyone of the TMC as the party does not consider it as a political opponent to reckon with.

The alleged attack created ripples in West Bengal where the TMC and the BJP were engaged in a war of words.

BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar claimed that the TMC is unable to even field candidates in seats for the local body elections in Tripura.

"They (TMC) have to take busloads of people from West Bengal to secure attendance of 500 people in Abhishek Banerjee's public meetings. There will be no impact of meetings by Abhishek Banerjee or Mamata Banerjee," Majumdar said.

He claimed that the only opponent of the BJP in Tripura can be the CPI(M) and not the TMC.

TMC leader and senior minister Firhad Hakim claimed that that the BJP was indulging in violence in Tripura. "But we will follow the democratic path and win Tripura. Democracy does exist in BJP-ruled states," he said. PTI JOY AMR SOM NN JRC JRC

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