At least 15 mosques were attacked by Hindutva groups RSS, VHP, and Bajrang Dal across Tripura while two of them were burnt in week-long violence against Muslims in the northeastern state, a petition to the Tripura High Court by a mosque committee president states.
“Over a dozen mosques, houses, and shops belonging to Muslims have been vandalised and are still being attacked by Hindutva groups particularly Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Viswa Hindu Parishad, and Bajrang Dal with complete impunity across Tripura in the garb of protests against the recent anti-minority violence in Bangladesh,” read the petition filed by Abdul Khaleque, president of Rowa Jama Masjid in Tripura’s Panisagar region.
The petition accepted by Tripura High Court on Friday.
At least 28 hate crimes against Muslims were listed in the petition to Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, Indrajit Mahanty. The hate crimes include mosque vandalisation, attacks against Muslim houses, shops, and hawkers, molesting Muslim women, and anti-Muslim slogans during the rallies.
“In these disturbing facts, it is stated that it has been more than a week since these anti-Muslim targeted attacks started. Since then, the situation has only gotten worse. What started as isolated anti-Muslim attacks soon took the shape of full-fledged rallies chanting anti-Muslim slogans and Jai Shri Ram. These rallies were orchestrated in the garb of protests against the anti-minority violence in Bangladesh. However, from the very beginning, the sole motive of these rallies was harming Indian minorities i.e. Muslims in Tripura in one way or another,” according to the petition.
The petition also pointed out Muslims are fleeing their neighborhoods out of fear.
However, the BJP government repeated its claim that there were no attacks against religious places of Muslims in the northeastern state.
“Five cases have been registered, including in Panisagar and Unakoti. There has been no injury, casualty and desecration of religious places. No mosque has been burnt in Panisagar as reported. There has been no alleged widespread disturbances and violence in Muslim areas of the state as repercussion to attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh,” Tripura advocate-general S.S. Dey said.
Photos and videos accessed by Maktoob showed violent right-wing mobs who wear saffron clothes and carry swords raising anti-Muslim slogans during protests organised by Viswa Hindu Parishad, Hindu Jagran Manch, Bajrang Dal, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The ongoing assaults on Muslims and their habitations resulted, “in serious security issues of minority Muslims almost in the entire state of Tripura,” read the petition.
The BJP led government has adopted a partisan attitude towards the anti-Muslim violence, Khaleque told High Court.
The petition went on to say: “However, the State has adopted a partisan attitude and wherever the Muslims have tried to do peaceful protests for non-action of police against this hooliganism, the police has stopped these Muslim groups by imposing Section 144 CrPC whereas the same police has not taken the same steps in those areas where these rallies and movements have turned into violence targeting only Muslims and their religious places.”
Tripura violence: High Court takes suo moto cognizance
A day after the petition by the mosque committee president, the Tripura High Court, took suo moto cognizance of the issue of violence against Muslims unleashed by Hindutva groups in Tripura and called upon the BJP government to file multiple affidavits by November 10.
Having perused a brief note filed by the state government indicating some of the important steps taken by it to bring about communal harmony as well as action taken against the perpetrator of such violence, a division bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice S. Talapatra stressed that its sole concern is regarding the protection of life, liberty, and property of all citizens of Tripura, reported Live Law.
Regarding the affidavits, one affidavit should detail the preventive measures that have been taken or its plan to scuttle “the design of stoking communal passion or to perpetrate violence”, HC told authorities.
The second affidavit should list the status of the investigation into the cases filed and whether any arrests had been made, The Telegraph reported.
“We direct the state to take urgent action in this regard so that the livelihood of persons who have lost their source of income can be restored at the earliest,” the court said.
Appreciating the role of the media in maintaining peace, High Court asked the media to remain vigilant at all times and continue discharging its duty in a responsible manner.