Congress to boycott Sarkar for terror nexus comments

December 16th, 2009 - 8:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Agartala, Dec 16 (IANS) The Congress, the main opposition party in Tripura, Wednesday announced its boycott of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar until he withdraws his comments or apologises for his “baseless, unfounded and false allegation against the party (Congress)”.
The Congress announcement was followed by an unprecedented bedlam for the third day Wednesday in the state assembly, which is meeting in its winter session here now.

With opposition members protesting the chief minister’s comments on a nexus between outlawed terror groups and political parties, proceedings in the assembly were disrupted since opening day of the house Monday.

Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath after failing to control the house finally adjourned it sine die without transacting any business.

“We (Congress) shall boycott the chief minister inside and outside the house if he does not apologies or withdraw his comments…,” agitated Leader of Opposition Ratan Lal Nath told reporters outside the house.

Terming the chief minister’s comments “irresponsible and childish”, Nath accompanied by other party legislators said: “The Congress wants peace and development in the northeastern state. Such type of provocative remarks would only disturb the peace and ethnic unity.”

“Manik Sarkar does not want tribal guerillas to come to the mainstream. He is anti-tribal. He is the biggest failure as chief minister among the nine chief ministers of the state.”

During a debate Monday over militancy in the state, Sarkar, who also holds the home portfolio, said: “The regional party - Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) - has a link with militant outfits. The Congress has a political alliance with the INPT. Therefore, the separatist outfits are getting indirect support from the main opposition party.”

The chaos resumed Wednesday as soon as the house assembled for the third day of the three-day winter session. Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath adjourned the house two times before he finally adjourned it sine die.

Earlier in the day, the chief minister in support of his Monday’s remarks said: “In 2001, the INPT’s the then elected executive member of the Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council (TTADC) and other party leaders had sent 50 tribal students and youths to Bangladesh to take arms training there before joining terrorists outfits.”

“When seven students and youths returning to Tripura after completing training in Bangladesh had been caught, they disclosed the details to the police,” Sarkar said.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed serious concern over the growing violent activities of Maoists. We should work together to curb terrorism,” he told the house.

In support of the chief minister’s observation, ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislators were displaying letters written (in December, 1987) between former Congress opposition leader Sudhir Ranjan Majumder, the then militant leader Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl and Mizoram Congress leader Lal Thanhawla.

Currently a member of the Tripura assembly, Hrangkhawl was the president of the erstwhile militant outfit Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) while Lal Thanhawla is now the chief minister of Mizoram.

Hrangkhawl, president of the INPT and party’s lone lawmaker, told the house Wednesday: “Individually some people might be involved with the militants, but the party is in no way linked with the separatists outfits.”

“If you have any evidence (about links with extremists), then arrest me. This is absolutely false that the INPT has a link with militants,” Hrangkhawl told the chief minister.

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