Article: Muslims under attack in Tripura

Masud Ahmad Khan
Tripura is an Indian state in North East India which is encircled from three sides, the North, South and West by Bangladesh, Assam and Mizoram. The state shares an 856 kilometers border with Bangladesh. Agartala, one of the largest cities in North East India, is the capital of the state. It is located 10 kilometers from the Bangladesh border and 90 kilometers East of Dhaka. Tripura is famous for insurgency, violence, intra-tribal battles as well as for the Chakma tribe and Agartala.

The Chakma tribe is one of the major tribes in the region that first migrated to the Arakan Hills of Myanmar, then to the Chittagong Hill tract and into Tripura. Chakmas are predominantly Buddhist and Pakistan’s former politician and diplomat, Raja Tridav Roy, was the 50th raja of the Chakma tribe in the Chittagong Hill tract.

Agartala came to prominence in 1967 due to the ‘Agartala Conspiracy’. In this conspiracy five East Pakistanis were accused in bringing about East Pakistan’s secession through an armed revolt with the assistance of India. However, Tripura was never part of India, even during the British Raj. After independence, it was annexed by India on October 15, 1949. In 1970, separatist groups appeared on the scene of Tripura and demanded independence from India. The National Liberation Front and other organisations fought for the establishment of an independent state.

In 2018, the BJP won the state election against the communist party which ruled the state for 25 years. On October 25, radicals belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Hindu Jorgan Munch (HJM), Bajrang Dal (BD) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) attacked 15 mosques, several houses and shops belonging to Muslims across the state. The pretext of the attack on Muslims was that they had allegedly attacked Hindus in neighboring Bangladesh.

On October 15 a rumor spread in Bangladesh that the Quran had been insulted during the Durga Puja festival by Hindus in the town of Comilla. Within no time, the news spread on social media and violence broke out. Seven people, including two Hindus, were killed while injuries were sustained by many. The Bangladeshi government was quick to arrest hundreds who were involved in attacks against the Hindu minority. Protests were held in Assam where the Bangladeshi flag was burnt and a boycott of Bangladeshi products was promoted.

The question of how the Muslims of Tripura were responsible for the attacks in Bangladesh when they had no connection to the matter at all is still unanswered. It was a tit-for-tat religious violence. The Hindu radicals were seen roaming in the streets attacking mosques, burning the Quran and chanting blasphemous slogans against Islam. The BJP-led government kept quiet and allowed the mob to terrorise innocent Muslims. According to the Trinamool Congress Party, the BJP was trying to use the recent violence in Bangladesh to polarise the voters ahead of the state municipal and assembly elections.

With the BJP-RSS government in power, Muslims are not safe anymore. They have not been since the massacre in 2002 in Gujrat while Modi was Chief Minister. According to New York Times, with the BJP in power, Hindu lynch mobs began to popup across the landscape. Muslims men were forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Jai Hanuman’ and many other people were attacked in their homes, on trains, on roads and at work. India is not a secular state anymore as it has become a Hindutva state where minorities are finding themselves under constant threat. The BJP actively promotes Hindu supremacy and so, it has become a threat to peace and stability.’

(Courtesy The Nation)

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