North East

Violence Against Muslims in Tripura

Mosques Vandalized , Muslim houses, shops targeted and destroyed after some 3500 Hindu hardliners rallied to protest violence against Hindus in Bangladesh

Hyderabad: People who had hailed Bangladesh as a symbol of economic prosperity, were taken aback by the sectarian violence that erupted in the aftermath of Durga Puja in Bangladesh. Over the previous two decades, the country has not had such communal issues.

Indian state of Tripura has witnessed anti-Muslim violence across the border in the aftermath, but the focus on Bangladesh violence has overshadowed it. Mosques in Tripura have been reportedly vandalised, and a prominent Muslim advocate’s house was attacked in the last week.

Since Bharatiya Janata Party came to power there has been a significant change in the state’s political dynamics.

Violence in Tripura erupted following a clash between Hindu right-wing organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad ( VHP) and Tripura Police. Police had earlier denied permission to hold any rally in response to the recent attacks on Hindus in neighboring Bangladesh. According to a senior police official, some 3,500 people took part in the rally. Some VHP activists attacked a mosque in Chamtilla area, Muslim houses and businesses were targeted and ransacked.

Following rumors that the Holy Quran was desecrated at a special pavilion built up for the annual Hindu religious celebration of Durga Puja, at least seven people were killed, temples were vandalized, and hundreds of Hindu minority homes and businesses were set on fire in Bangladesh earlier this month.

Bangladesh surrounds Tripura on three sides and connects it to the neighbouring state of Assam by a narrow corridor. After almost 25 years of Communist government, from 2018 the state is under the rule of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the last four days, more than ten cases of religious violence have been reported in the North Tripura area.  After the violence in the border town of Panisagar on Tuesday night, where a mosque and numerous Muslim-owned stores were vandalised, authorities imposed restrictions on mass gatherings. However, a local representative of a hardline Hindu group has claimed that they were abused by some youngsters of other community. The claim is yet to be verified. Police said that Muslim houses and shops were targeted and destroyed and a case has been filed for the same after one of the affected members registered the complaint.

Tripura Police took to Twitter and appealed to people to maintain peace.

Many social activists, journalists, Muslim leaders, including the AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi have condemned the attacks on Muslims and appealed to the central government to take immediate action.

Muslim Activist Sharjeel Usmani tweeted:

Renowned Journalist Rana Ayyub tweeted:

The Muslims of Tripura, who make up 9% of the population, are predominantly Bengali speakers. They have not previously been in the spotlight because the conflicts, as previously Bengali Hindus and indigenous tribal groups were in clash. After partition, the princely state of Tripura acceded into the Indian Union and many Bengali-speaking Hindus migrated to the land of indigenous tribes. Later in 1971 when Bangladesh was liberated many more Hindus entered Tripura which significantly changed the demographics of the population in the state.

The tribals who were once the majority of the population were reduced. Bengali-speaking Hindus started to dominate the administration which resulted in conflicts between the Bengali Hindus and tribals of Tripura. As the population of Hindus increased, Muslim population fell sharply.

Munsif News Bureau

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