Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has Rs 3,930 and has never filed any income tax return”, says a recent news report. In every five years during Tripura Assembly elections, somewhere around the final day of submission of nomination, Manik Sarkar hits the headlines to tell the same old story of his much-celebrated frugality. In fact, the monthly salary of the Chief Minister is not going to the hands of the poor but to the party fund in the name of levy, so is the case with all the elected representatives of CPM. Following the party line, Manik Sarkar also donates his entire salary to the CPM and gets Rs 5,000 from the party as subsistence allowances. For Communist parties and governments, propaganda along with inherent ideology of ‘violence’ is an inevitable mechanism to capture and hold on to the power.
Till the advent of social media, CPM has effectively utilised media for selling the half-baked truths to keep the society divided. In the post-Soviet world order, the communists have lost the monopoly over the media and academia. Several such myths created by the prodigies of Marx and Mao have later proved to be blatant lies, busted in the due course of time. Many are still floating around even in 2018. The myth of Manik Sarkar was one of such bubbles waiting to burst. With several journalists and writers visiting Tripura against the backdrop of the Assembly elections, the real gory face of Manik Sarkar and his ochlocractic and autocratic regime stands exposed. Whatever may be the outcome of the Assembly Election, 2018 in Tripura, two facts cannot be denied. Firstly, the ‘spotless’ character of the incumbent Chief Minister stands exposed in this campaign and secondly, the BJP has emerged as the main challenger in favour of the common people of Tripura who have been victims of years of misgovernance which is being sold as ‘Tripura Model of Governance’.
Filial Cannibalism of CPM
When Stalin came to power in Soviet Union, before settling the score with anti-Communists, he eliminated his fellow comrades, politburo members, one by one. Taking a cue from the USSR, the CPM seems to have adopted the Tripura Model on the same line of Stalin. In 1998, Ananda Mohan Roaja, CPM MLA was killed by extremists near his house at Durgapur near Gandacherra town. It has been suspected that internal rivalry within the CPM could have taken the toll on Ananda Roaja’s life. In another incident in the same year, the then health minister, Bimal Sinha one of the most popular faces amongst the CPM leaders, and his younger brother Bidyut Sinha were killed by National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) in broad daylight. This happned soon after Manik Sarkar took over the reins of Tripura. Considering the angst of other MLAs, a commission headed by retired Kolkata High Court Justice MA Yusuf was appointed by the Chief Minister Manik Sarkar. The Commission submitted the report in 2000 but the Manik Sarkar government had kept the findings of the report under lock and key for over 16 years. Many honest government officials who refused to give in to the coercion of the Leftist parties also had to sacrifice their lives.
The Murder that shook the Citadel
Chandramohan Tripura (55), was brutally murdered on December 26, 2016; the first ever political murder of a BJP leader in Tripura. He was the Mandal Sabhapati of BJP’s Janjati Morcha of Gandhacherra and elected committee member of Dalpati ADC village. By winning one of the CPM strongholds, Chandramohan Tripura became an eyesore to the CPM leaders. On December 26, 2016, a group of CPM goons barged into his house and told him that the local MLA Lalitmohan Tripura wanted to meet him. They escorted him to the MLA’s house. After that nobody has seen him alive, but later his assaulted dead body had been found with deep weals.
The BJP started a massive ‘Jail Bharo’ (get arrested) agitationdemanding CBI probe into the murder. The revolt, participated by more than 40 thousand of people, has shaken the throne of Manik Sarkar.
Hype Vs Reality
When Manik Sarkar travelled from Guwahati to Bengaluru in train last year, it has hit the headlines across the country. Whatever the story floating out of the state, the people of Tripura know that their CM prefers helicopter even for a journey of less than 40 km in his state. Recently, Meenkshi Lekhi, speaking at the release function of ‘Manik Sarkar: Real and the Virtual’ in Delhi, alleged that RTI reports suggest that his helicopter journeys incurred a loss of 10 crore rupees to the public exchequer. Projecting himself as a non-corrupt and spotless leader, Manik Sarkar and his party claim that he does not even own a house. This may be true but he lives in an opulent government bungalow. He does not possess a car but he never travels even for a short distance, without a chopper.
In 2005, a tumultuous news spread out across the state that skeletal remains of a woman were found in a septic tank of the Chief Minister’s official residence. The then Congress president Samir Ranjan had raised some serious questions against Manik Sarkar over the issue. Not even the customary investigation had been ordered in this case.
The government employees are still given the salary according to the Fourth Pay Commission while all the other state governments have implemented the Seventh Pay Commission. In addition, the CPM is forcefully collecting donations from the government employees during every election.
The High Court and Supreme Court verdicts over Teachers apppointment scam, which has been widely covered by the media, was another black mark in the ‘spotless’ track record of the Cheif Minister. The Supreme Court cancelled the appointment of more than 10,000 government school teachers in Tripura last year. The Supreme Court has found irregularities in the recruitment and it said appropriate recruitment procedures had not been followed.
The Secret of Higher Voting
Tripura is a smaller state with around 35 lakh population. The booth consists of nearly 800-1000 voters. Forged voting of even 50 voters can be decisive and can turn in favour of the CPM. For instance, in 2013, 31 opposition candidates, out of total 60 seats, lost their seats by 50 to 1500 votes. The voters’ list is to be verified by the polling officer. As Communists have tampered the entire system, the official who is supposed to verify the list, would be a stooge of the CPM. The new voters face immense problems for enrolment unless they approach the concerned official through the CPM. In 2013, out of 60 Assembly seats, CPM won 49 seats while CPI won one seat. 10 candidates of the Congress won the election. Voting percentage was 91.82. 46 candidates of the CPM won the elections. The voting percentage was surprisingly higher than the highest vote percentage of the other states. Dr. Ashok Sinha, the then Congress leader who later left the party, had taken it up with the Election Commission alleging that the statistics of such a huge vote percentage should be questioned.
A video, titiled ‘Tamasha of Tripura Polls’, exposing the Tripura Electoral Process went viral in 2014. One can see the CPM workers were controlling the voters outside the polling booth of Dhwajnagar constituency while the police gave them a blind eye. Most surprisingly, the video was not of a sting operation by any private channel but was an available sample recording by the Election Commission itself.
Medical College Scam
On July 11, 2011, the Congress had called a protest rally against the new admission system in Tripura Medical College which was undermining the state’s reservation policy. In the police firing against the peaceful rally, six people sustained bullet firing and hundreds of others were injured. Papai Sinha, a young newspaper vendor was shot in the head and died on the spot after the Tripura State Rifle men began firing indiscriminately.
Tripura Medical College was established in 2005 by the Government of Tripura and a Kerala-based organisation, Global Educational Net (GENET) in a Public-Private Partnership, first venture of its kind in India. The government has allotted land for the medical college and assured it would contribute 5 crore rupees every year. GENET had been receiving funds for the next three years. The Government also bought expensive equipments for the college and GENET had arranged loans of Rs 54 crore from Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). The most shocking part was, GENET offered the college building, which was constructed by the government, as collateral against the loan. Also, GENET had been allowed to raise funds from the private sector.
With the High Court denying the plea of GENET to get affiliation from the MCI, they have fled the scene leaving the medical college administration to its own fate. As the chairman of the organisation happened to be in relation with a communist stalwart from Kerala, Manik Sarkar had a soft approach towards him. Succumbing to allegations of corruption, an FIR had been launched against the GENET in 2009.
Interestingly, even after completing a decade of existence, it is not yet sure whether the medical college belongs to private or public sector. Agartala Medical College (AGMC) collects Rs 1.25 lakh every year from each student as tuition fee while the TMC is collecting Rs 4.45 lakh from each annually, which is stated to be highest in the country. The college gets funds from the government budget allocation.
Series of Scams
While chit fund companies hit a hard blow on West Bengal, they robbed around 35,000 crore rupees from the poor people of Tripura, a state with an annual budget of 16000 core rupees, as stated by the Minister of Finance in the Assembly on November 14, 2017. As the Trinamool Congress leaders were directly linked to the Sarada scam, so are the CPM leaders to the Rose Valley Scam.
The Rose Valley Chit Fund Company was a Tripura-based company owned by Goutam Kundu. Senior CPM leader Gautam Das issued a trade licence to the company. Husbands of CPM MLAs Bijita Nath and Rita Majumdar, were agents of the company. The Rose Valley was given license for opening branches and functioning in a week. Again, even though it was not an industry the chit fund company had been allotted a prime land from Boghganjnagar Industrial Corridor, where all other industries were shut down due to trade unionism of CPM. The so-called ‘clean’ Chief Minister Manik Sarkar inaugurated the Rose Valley park and, in his blistering speech, he praised the company and assured the people that the company had intentionally shown a trivial amount in order to avoid a CBI probe. The affair between the government and the Rose Valley was so intense that even after an FIR had been filed against the company for forgery, it was getting regular grants from the government Park custody and the park remained in the custody of the Rose Valley till 2017.
The Shocking Clip
A recent video by a CPM leader went viral revealing to the public the secret of the CPM top leaders’ suddent wealth. The clip by Samar Acharya created quite a stir. It is seen in the clip that Samar is lying on the bed of currency notes and he also has pulled over a blanket of notes. Samar is seen in the clip saying, “I have Rs 22 lakh at present and I will earn one crore soon.” The people of Tripura were angered upon seeing the clip. ‘A local leader has so much money then what about the top leaders?,’ thought the public.
CPM instigates Militants against RSS
The people or the organisations which are involved in anti-national activities find Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh as their prime foe. The militant organisations in Tripura threaten RSS workers involved in service to the people, and try to intimidate them but the volunteers do not give in.On August 6, 1999, National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) abducted four RSS functionaries. Even though RSS moved heaven and earth to save them, Manik Sarkar was undisturbed as expected. In February 2001, NFLT declared that they had killed four RSS men who had been held captive since August 1999. Thousands of people have been killed by the militants. Many agents of militants have been in the government. In 1998, State Chief Secretary V Thulasidas had tried to root out the infestation which was affecting the administration. He presented a list of many government officials who had links with the militant organisations to the concerned department heads. He passed order to remove them from their posts but Manik Sarkar objected. Due to the political intervention no action was taken. Manik Sarkar had recently come to the power and cooperation with the militants was always the policy of the leftists.
Apart from that, Sabahuddin, one of the suspects in Bengaluru terrorist attacks in 2005, was arrested in Agartala in 2017. He confessed that the terror attack was botched by his associate Abu Hamza who was carrying the arms cache. Among the names he revealed was Habib Miyan, a resident of Jogender Nagar, a densely populated middle class neighbourhood about four kilometres from the Indo-Bangladesh border in Agartala. Sabahuddin had revealed to the investigators that Habib Miyan helped him cross over to Bangladesh on more than one occasions.
Another terrorist-accused Suman alias Praveen Majumdar had been residing in Agartala for long. He was a family friend of Shahid Chaudari, the CPM Minister. When Kolkata police landed in Agartala in search of a terrorist, he escaped to Bangladesh. In a dreadful incidence, Shahid’s wife drove him to the Bangladesh border in her husband’s official government vehicle. Unsurprisingly, neither the minister nor his wife was questioned by the state CID which inquired the case.
Highest Production of Cannabis
Tripura is the largest grower of cannabis which is smuggled to the other states. This is most profitable business in which many big shots are involved. It draws a profit of Rs 5,00,000 per acre. Shocking but true that the cultivation is in full bloom right under the nose of Manik Sarkar; the largest producer in the state is his own constituency, Dhanpur.
Manoranjan Acharya, CPM MLA from Amarpur raped his friend’s seven-year-old daughter in a party office. It is said that the police stations, Tripura has for women, are nothing but dust thrown in the public eye. By an unwritten rule, CPM workers cannot be framed for any crime. Therefore, there was no question of filing an FIR against him. The police registered an FIR only after BJP organised a protest rally at the police station. Heavy criticism from the media finally led to the expulsion of the MLA from CPM. Another CPM MLA, Naresh Jamatiya sexually assaulted a woman after luring her for a job.
National media is full of crime-related news from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In fact, Tripura leaves both the states behind in crime rate, but there is hardly any coverage across the national media. Both apathy and ignorance about Tripura are responsible for the under-reporting. Tripura is fortunate to have the highest percentage of number of police personnel per lakh population, or one police man per 70 persons, as compared to the other states. But the state police has to their credit the highest number of crimes. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the chief secretary and DGP of Tripura on a complaint that incidents of crime against women including harassment at workplace were on a rise in the state.
According to a report published by National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) about the crimes in India 2013, Tripura had registered 1628 cases of various crimes against women. Of these, cases of cruelty by husbands and other relatives were the highest at 827, followed by 233 cases of rape, 124 cases of kidnapping and abduction and 29 cases of dowry-related deaths.
There is no dearth of other serious crimes too. The average number of murders per year is 145. In 2014, it was 140, 148 in 2015 and in 2016, 149 murder cases had been listed. But the numbers are not convincing because many murders or killings have been registered as ‘unnatural death’, the number of which is 10 times more than the listed murders. The number of unnatural deaths in 2014 was 1256, 1308 in 2015 and 1320 in 2016. The average figure of unnatural deaths is 110 per month. According to NCRB, from January 1 to the July 31 2016, 85 people had been abducted, out of which seven have been killed. 151 theft cases and 58 incidents of riots had been reported, 52 dowry death cases, 70 rape cases and 85 molestation cases had been reported.
Comparing to the less population, suicide rate of Tripura has increased manifold over years. Around 59 to 80 cases of suicides are being reported every year. In 2014, 650 cases, in 2015 – 740 and 2016 – 673 cases had been reported in which 50 were women. The number of missing persons is substantial. The state itself is a maze. The large number of missing people is a cause of suspicion. In 2013 – 1358, in 2015 – 942 and in 2016, 1260 people went missing. During the period of 2005-16, 9,247 road accidents took place. At least two accidents happen every single day. 27,908 persons lost their lives in the accidents, as per the figures presented by the Government in the Assembly.
On one side, the development graph of Tripura has come down as basic infrastructure facilities such as water, roads and electricity were ignored but on the other hand crime increased substantially. Atrocities towards women rose to its peak, The state ranks first or second every year in the list of rape cases. Women are nowhere safe in the CPM reign, be it schools, colleges, offices, hospitals or in the Mantralaya. The law and order situation has disintegrated altogether. Diligent recruitment of CPM workers in the state police force for two decades is the main reason behind it. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2012-13, 18 cases per month had been reported, while in May and June 2013, 30 and 27 cases had been reported respectively. In 2014, 14 cases in each month, in 2015, 15 and 20 cases had been reported in 2016.
Tripura is a state with high rate of crime and low conviction rate. Gang-raping women, parading them naked is the caustic reality of the CPM ruled state. The victims are often tribal women.