Lenin statue demolished in Tripura. CPI (M), BJP trade charges

The statue of Lenin was pulled down on March 5. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Mar 06, 2018, 08.30 AM (IST)

Amid the rise in the incidents of violence in Tripura following the recently-concluded assembly elections, the statue of Left icon Lenin was demolished at Tripura's Belonia town on Monday. The CPM today claimed that it was the handiwork of the BJP which in turn denied the allegations. 

The statue was brought down with the help of a bulldozer at the College Square amid roars of "Bharat Mata ki jai".

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The CPI(M) alleged that the supporters and activists of the BJP-IPFT alliance were terrorizing its workers and burning party offices since the announcement of poll results on March 3.

CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar claimed that 514 party activists were assaulted, 1,539 houses of the party activists were attacked and 196 houses set on fire since the announcement of results.

He also claimed that 134 CPI(M) offices were attacked and looted, 64 party offices were set on fire and at least 90 offices of different mass organisations had been occupied allegedly by BJP-IPFT supporters.

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav had earlier tweeted a photo of the demolition. Later, he deleted his tweets. 

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said the party did not practice the "culture of violence". He instead blamed the Left parties of choosing to be silent about 11 BJP workers who were killed in places like Tripura.
 
"BJP does not ever practice culture of violence. In places like Tripura, Left parties have chosen to be silent about 11 BJP workers who were killed. Some of those who support Left parties are trying to foist these kind of debates
that a statue is removed," Nalin Kohli said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar alleged the "marxists" had killed nine of the party's workers in Tripura and 24 BJP workers in Karnataka.

"In Tripura, 9 of our workers were killed because of the Marxists. In Karnataka, Congress misgovernance killed 24 BJP workers. The public will give befitting reply to this in upcoming elections," the Parliamentary Affairs minister said.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy called Lenin a "foreigner" and said a terrorist's statue should be kept inside the Communist party's headquarters.

"Lenin to videshi hai, ek parakar se antankwadi hai, aise vyakti ka humare desh mein statue? Woh statue Communist party ke headquarters ke andar rakh sakte hain aur pooja karen (Lenin is a foreigner. In a way he is a terrorist. A statue of such a person in our country? They can keep the statue inside the Communist party's headquarters and worship it)," Subramanian Swamy said.

CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury blamed the RSS-BJP combine for the violence in Tripura.

"Tripura mein jo hinsa ho rahi hai yeh spasht hai ki RSS-BJP ka rujhan kya hai. Hinsa ke alawa unka rajneetik bhavishya kuch hai nahi. Tripura ki janta iska jawaab degi (It is clear from the violence in Tripura what is the tendency of the RSS-BJP combine. They do not have any political future except for violence. The people of Tripura will respond to this)," Sitaram Yechury said in Kolkata.

Tapas Dutta, Secretary, Belonia Sub divisional committee, CPI (M) alleged that after demolishing the martyrs column near the Lenin statue, the BJP supporters wanted to destroy the CPI(M) party office in Belonia.
 
"It was around 2.30-3:00 pm when a mob comprising BJP supporters demolished our martyrs column near the Lenin statue. Later, they wanted to demolish the CPI (M )party office in Belonia but the businessmen prevented the mob as their shops would have been broken. Immediately after that, they went to the Lenin's statue and demolished it. The statue was set up by the Belonia Corporation in 2016 and we celebrate Lenin Jayanti every year. The Reserve Police Headquarters are right next to the spot, the SP office is just 100 metres away, still police took no action. The police have not arrested the real culprits but the driver of the bulldozer. Besides this, BJP has ransacked and vandalised many party offices of ours."
 
South Tripura Superintendent of Police, Ipper Manchak Dnyanoba said after the destruction of the statue, the BJP statue was hoisted at the spot. He said the police was investigating the political affiliation of the mob.

"This incident took place within 15 minutes. The entire force was mobilised for BJP's victory rallies. By the time we got the news and reached the place, the mob had dispersed but we saw a BJP's flag hoisted at that spot. We are investigating the political affiliation of the mob. We had not expected that the incident could take place at this location, hence we had very few officers at the police line. The entire force was deployed at the victory rallies," he said.
 
CPI leader D Raja also condemned the violence. 

"I strongly condemn this violence this is not acceptable in a democracy. We are a multi-party democracy, some parties win and some lose, does not mean they can resort to vandalism and violence like demolition of Lenin statue will take place. Law needs to take its course," D Raja said.

As did JD (U) MP Harivansh who said that the people of India believed in different ideologies.

"This is wrong. People of this nation believe in different ideologies. It is true that Lenin's statues were demolished after end of ruling in Russia. But India is not Russia, all ideologies should be supported here. Lenin brought huge revolution in 1917 for poor," Harivansh said.

Story highlights

The statue was brought down with the help of a bulldozer at the College Square amid roars of 'Bharat Mata ki jai'