Congress sponsored 12-hour Tripura shutdown evokes mixed response

Agartala, Sep 21, 2020, IANS

The 12-hour shutdown called by the opposition Congress against the Tripura government's alleged misgovernance and failure to curb Covid-19 spread evoked a mixed response in the state on Monday.

Social distancing and other Covid-19 restrictions were blatantly violated as huge gatherings of bandh supporters and ruling Bharatiya Janata Party workers were seen in many places across the state.

Police officials said that around 1,000 Congress workers and leaders were detained from different places for picketing in support of the shutdown, called to highlight the 12-point demands.

Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee President Pijush Biswas claimed that the shutdown was "total and spontaneous" while BJP leader Alok Bhattacharjjee said that the people had "rejected" the strike.

"In some places, Congress and BJP workers clashed, injuring several members on both sides. Some policemen were also injured in Agartala and Kailashahar (in northern Tripura) while controlling the mobs," a police official said in Agartala.

Police said the situation was normal in many places and government and semi-government offices, markets and business establishments were functioning as usual.

However, a large number of private and public vehicles remained off the road, causing hardships to the commuters.

Biswas said that the Congress leaders wanted to meet Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to appraise him of the crisis and demands of the people but he was yet to respond.

"The BJP government totally failed to meet thte basic needs of the people, including drinking water, rural jobs, and education. Total lawlessness prevails in the state ever since the BJP government has come to power in March 2018," he told the media.

He alleged that with 1.11 per cent fatality rate and 70.16 per cent recovery rate, Tripura is worst among 8 north-eastern states in Covid-19 management.

"The BJP government in Tripura has been a total failure in Covid-19 management, whereas the community transmission of the virus is rampant in the state," Biswas claimed.

Senior Congress leader Gopal Roy said that attacks on opposition party workers, journalists and even the common people had become a regular affair in Tripura, while increasing unemployment, sufferings of the poor and betrayal with 10,323 ex-government schoolteachers have been reflected in Monday's successful strike.