Rss

  • stumble
  • youtube
  • linkedin

Archives for : Tripura

Mentally challenged woman burnt after gang rape in Tripura #Vaw #WTFnews

rapepublic1
IANS  |  Agartala 

 Last Updated at 19:04 IST

In a case of horrific brutality, a mentally challenged woman was burnt to death after being gang raped in Tripura, police said Saturday.

“Alorani Deb was gang raped by three men. They then burnt her to death in Harina village in southern Tripura Thursday night,” a police spokesman told reporters here. The village is located about 155 km from here.

The woman, 42, a mother of two, was mentally challenged.

Police arrested the three culprits, all construction workers, and a probe is on.

Various political parties, including the ruling Communist Party of India- Marxist, have demanded exemplary punishment to the culprits.

 

Read mor ehere -http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/mentally-challenged-woman-burnt-after-gang-rape-in-tripura-114060700540_1.html

Related posts

Hindu-Muslim Couple commit suicide in Tripura after family disapproval #WTFmews

IANS  Agartala, January 12, 2014 |
  

A young Muslim woman and a Hindu man killed themselves in Tripura after their families strongly disapproved of their love affair because of socio-religious taboo, police said here on Sunday.

Natasha, a 21-year-old resident of Taranagar village and a second-year student of Swami Vibekananda college in Mohanpur, was in love with her 25-year-old neighbour Sanjib Das, a driver of a private vehicle, a police spokesman said.

“When his family strongly disapproved of the love affair, Sanjib committed suicide Friday night by hanging himself from a tree near Natasha’s house after sending an SMS to Natasha’s mobile,” the spokesman told reporters.

Later Friday night, Natasha told her mother she was going to the toilet, but within an hour her mother found her ablaze below a bamboo plant behind their house.

The girl was immediately taken to the Gobinda Ballav Pant Medical College and Hospital here with more than 90 per cent burns and breathed her last on Saturday night.

Taranagar is around 35 km north of state capital Agartala.

Natasha’s parents were also strongly against the relationship with Sanjib, police said.

Mohanpur sub-divisional police officer Sanjay Biswas said police have found a suicide note from Natasha, saying she committed suicide because her “most loved one has left me”.

Police investigation was on.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

#India – Tribal rights without benefits #mustread

A special lid allows non-biodegradable objects like plastic bottles to be flushed out. The excreta enters through a separate opening into  the digester tank

Over 1.3 million tribals and forest dwellers have got rights over the land they had been using for years under the Forest Rights Act. This can, in some way, be called contemporary India’s largest land regime change—from the forest administration to the rightful owners of forestland. The Act promises another bounty—access to government schemes. But six years after the Act was enforced, lives of the forest dwellers have not changed much. Not one state has initiated concrete steps to officially register the title holders in the state land records. Without this they remain what they used to be—officially non-existent.

Ahead of the general elections in 2014, Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava,Aparna PallaviM Suchitra and Richard Mahapatra travel to the forest districts of Odisha, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh to assess the impact of the landmark legislation

Owning a piece of the planet is overwhelming. For Lange Manjhi, resident of Jurakhaman village in Odisha’s Kalahandi district, it is much more than that. He grew up in the forest village and cultivated the land he inherited from his father. But he had no legal right over it. Rather, he was called an encroacher. And an encroacher has no right over government’s development schemes. He cannot even sell his paddy to government agencies, forget about getting government loan to invest in his farm.

So he felt liberated in June 2010 when the Odisha government recognised his land rights and gave him title certificates, or pattas, under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006. That month, the state gave titles to 54 families over 146 hectares (ha) in Jurakhaman. Development has started to show in Jurakhaman. Its landscape speaks of the changes FRA has brought in. Of the 54 families, 24 got money from the government to build houses under the Indira Awaas Yojana.

Whether it is Andhra Pradesh’s Amrabad villageWhether it is Andhra Pradesh’s Amrabad village (seen in pic) or villages in other states with considerable forest cover and forest communities like Odisha or Madhya Pradesh, FRA implementation has been similar. Some forest dwellers have got land titles, some are waiting for it, but most are yet to reap the benefits of development schemes (Photo: M Suchitra)

Under the horticulture department’s programme, many have mango trees in their farms, a future money earner. A new lift irrigation project irrigates 24 ha of 14 families. Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), people have developed their farms. “We hope the production will increase,” says Manjhi.

“Earlier, we would sell rice to local traders at Rs 500-700 per quintal (100 kg) when government’s price was Rs 1,200 per quintal,” says Dhan Singh Manjhi, village leader. Government agencies such as Food Corporation of India-authorised markets or farmers’ cooperatives would not accept foodgrain from an “encroacher’s” farm. This year, Manjhi and Lange together sold 4,500 kg of rice for Rs 45,000 to government agencies, an unheard of income in the village.

image“Development work has been proposed for families which have not availed the benefits yet. An irrigation project is also in pipeline,” says Sunita Tandy of Kalahandi-based non-profit Seba Jagat, which works for tribal rights.

Like Jurakhaman, many villages in Odisha are showing signs of prosperity. In Khariguda in Koraput district, 46 families got land titles. Of these, 16 constructed terraces on their farm slopes using MGNREGA. “My one acre (0.4 ha) farm will now fetch much more ragi,” says resident Bagh Mudli.

This is the development potential of FRA. Till June this year, 1.3 million families across the country got legal rights over 1.7 million ha, an unprecedented achievement. Most of them got legal right over their land for the first time. In contrast, under the much hyped land reforms programme, the government distributed only 2.2 million ha to 5.64 million families in the past six decades.

“If FRA is converged with government schemes, as the Act provides, and worked properly upon for at least five years, the economic condition of tribals will change drastically,” says Giri Rao of Bhubaneswar-based non-profit Vasundhara, which tracks implementation of FRA in the state.

A rough calculation shows that each title holder should have access to 56 government schemes covering land development, subsidised homes and government’s foodgrain procurement programme. “This priority convergence with government programmes makes the right an effective livelihood programme,” says N C Saxena, chairperson of the National Forest Rights Act Committee set up by the Centre to examine the implementation of FRA in 2010.

imagePondi village in Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh is divided along several lines; some residents have both pattas and convergence, some have only pattas and some have nothing at all (Photo: Aparna Pallavi)

But the question is: have people reaped the benefits of FRA? The economic boom that these villages of Odisha are experiencing should have become a reality in 170,000 villages across the country. The environment ministry’s India Forestry Outlook study for 2020, published in 2009, estimates that 20 per cent of the forestland under government control would be with people once the Act is fully implemented. This is more than 15 million ha forestland. As many as 31 million ha forestland is used by villages, estimates Forest Survey of India. But the Act’s development potential has been least exploited (see ‘Not implemented, not converged’). Of the 19 states that have state action plans to implement FRA, none has taken up full scale convergence programme.

“Patta de kar bhool gaye”

In Madhya Pradesh’s Bhagpur village, people got titles in 2010. But convergence work is nil. “Patta dekar bhool gaye hain (Government has forgotten us after issuing claim certificates),” says resident Sundari Bai Dhurve. “We have to do land-levelling, bunding and need wells, irrigation pumps and electricity,” says another resident Khuman Veladi. “We cannot make a sustainable income on small holdings without these aids.”

FRA’s implementation is similar across the country. Some forest dwellers have got land titles  some are waiting for itResidents of Jungle Modi in Odisha were given titles to land parcels much smaller than what they had claimed(Photo: Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava)

In neighbouring Samaiya village, Chotelal Saiyam’s 4.4 ha family land was split among three brothers when they got land rights. “When the entire family shared land, some would look after agriculture and others would collect forest produce. Collectively, we managed a decent living. Now each family has to look after its own piece of land. Income from forest produce has fallen,” he says.

In Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh, convergence work has been undertaken in only two panchayats—Ajgar and Gaura Kanhari. “Even in villages where work has been done, only some people have received benefits,” says Hiralal Sarote, who livs in Katangola village of Madhya Pradesh and works for non-profit Nirmaan. In Pondi village of Ajgar panchayat, 81 claims were accepted, but only 31 land-levelling and bunding jobs were sanctioned. Only two of the five wells sanctioned could be completed. “Now the village is divided along several lines,” says Fulsingh Kewatia, FRA committee president, “Some have both pattas and convergence, some have only pattas and some have nothing at all.”

But the government has a long list of convergence work done in the state. Ashish Upadhyay, former commissioner, tribal development, who was transferred recently, says 70 to 80 per cent of the beneficiaries have been issued Kisan Credit Cards, with loans facilitated through cooperative banks. Till March 2013, as many as 54,000 houses have been sanctioned under Indira Awaas Yojana, 10,000 wells have been sanctioned under MGNREGA, and 20,000 motor pumps given under Central assistance scheme for tribal development. This apart, 7,000 land levelling jobs have been completed.

FRA’s implementation is similar across the country. Some forest dwellers have got land titles  some are waiting for itResidents of villages in Adilabad were happy to get land titles but were unaware of benefits they could claim under convergence (Photo: M Suchitra)

Titles given, not recorded

For the government, handing over land titles is the easiest step in implementing FRA. The tough task is officially changing the land’s regime. As per FRA, all forest villages, unrecorded settlements and old habitation must be converted to revenue villages. Notably, despite decades of efforts India still does not have proper records of lands.

“New titles must be recorded in government’s land records. Without this, title holders’ ownership will not be recognised,” says Sanjay Upadhyay, environment lawyer and former legal consultant with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA). “But no state has recorded fresh land titles in its revenue record. Hardly any forest village has been converted to revenue village. Everything is on paper, nothing has changed on ground,” says Upadhyay.

imageClaims of more than 50 per cent tribal households in Gunjiguda village in Odisha were rejected (Photo: Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava)“Our village does not have an irrigation tank,” says former sarpanch Ganesh Taram of Rampuri village in Maharashtra’s Bhandara district. “We urgently need wells to sustain paddy crops when there is little rain.” With their titles not registered in revenue records, they cannot avail government schemes. “This year we suffered huge losses due to heavy rains, but in absence of records, we are not eligible for government aids,” he says.

“According to revenue records, government is the owner of my land, not me,” says Vasudev Meshram of Jambhli village in the same district. “When I showed the document at the paddy procurement cooperative of the tribal development department, I was refused membership.” The state government has not demarcated his land on ground. Meshram is lucky to have the revenue record. Most of the 50 families in his village do not have their revenue records at all, though they received land claims under FRA in 2010.

In many states, convergence work has not started because of the absence of government guidelines on the process of issuing revenue record documents, says K V Dhurve, chief coordinator, forest rights, tribal development department, Maharashtra. It is not clear whether the document is to be issued in the owner’s name or the government’s, he says.

In Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, revenue and forest departments are in conflict over the status of forestland. Dispute over land ownership between revenue and forest departments is a big hurdle in the implementation of FRA. Neither the state governments nor the Centre is clear about the process of recording the rights and status of land after handing over titles. In 2011, when Madhya Pradesh raised doubts over the process of recording rights and the administration of FRA land post-settlement, MoTA said it was to be done as per the settlement rules of each state government and left it to them to decide it.

Pachlu Uike’s land in Orai village, Madhya Pradesh, was marked forestland with a pillar. He claimed his land in 2008 but the forest department did nothing about itPachlu Uike’s land in Orai village, Madhya Pradesh, was marked forestland with a pillar. He claimed his land in 2008 but the forest department did nothing about it (Photo: Aparna Pallavi)

A senior MoTA official admits correction of land records is tricky. “Every state has a different setup for maintaining land records, so each state will have to find its own way of recording the rights. The Centre cannot prescribe a uniform format,” the official says.

FRA a mere electoral issue?

The Central and state governments had electoral interests in FRA. The Act came into force in 2007, two years prior to general elections. In Maharashtra, most titles were given in 2008-09, says Pratibha Shinde of state-based non-profit Lok Sangharsh Morcha. “Now that the Lok Sabha elections are scheduled for April next year, people will start getting titles again,” she says. Countrywide, most titles were given between 2008 and 2010, the period when major forest-bearing states went to polls (see ‘Poll time to give land titles’).

Read more here-  http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/rights-without-benefits

 

Related posts

How Tripura became India’s top literate state

Map of State of Tripura. Map shows the 4 distr...

Map of State of Tripura. Map shows the 4 districts of Tripura along with roadways and small railway network present in the state. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tripura‘s feat of becoming the highest literacy state in India is a result of its emphasis on the social sector, including education, than blindly running after GDP growth
SHIVANGI NARAYAN | SEPTEMBER 09 2013

 Tripura’s unassuming chief minister Manik Sarkar announced that the tiny northeast Indian state is India’s most literate state. At 94.65 percent (based on final assessments by all districts), literacy rate of the state surged past 93.91-percent literate Kerala.

“Our goal is to 100 percent literacy (and) we would attain that very soon,” Sarkar said at a function held to mark the International Literacy Day.

So what was it that worked for a state that was 12th in the literacy list of 2001 census and fourth in 2011, as Sarkar mentioned? The state’s focus on the social sector, to believe its ministers and officials.

As the millennium turned, and most states joined the ‘development’ or have the high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) race, Tripura silently went on to ensure every child in the state goes to school. The programme did not stop at the children; it ensured that people who were left out of the fold of formal education, and were too old to join it again, would be provided education to improve quality of their lives.

The programmes were not just implemented to make the state literate but as long-term education programmes to ensure all citizens have a certain basic minimum level of education, Tripura’s higher education, food and information and cultural affairs minister Bhanu Lal Saha said. Education, as Saha stressed, is a necessary tool to empower people, as “only an educated society can produce a good civil society”.

Tripura has 45 blocks and 23 subdivisions that are served by 68 government-run schools and 30-40 privat schools.

Among projects implemented by the state government to increase literacy in the state are:

* Total literacy drive for people aged between 15 and 50 who have lost the chance of entering formal education fold. A special programme – titled improved pace and content learning (IPCL) – has been designed to provide basic education to such people.

* 10,000 aaganwadi centres have 100 percent enrolment.

* Policy of no examination till class VIII to children people from dropping out.

* Midday meals in all schools with an eclectic menu for all days of the week to attract more students.

* No tuition fee in government colleges.

The holistic education system, implemented with equal interest in Agartala, remote areas and the tribal autonomic areas, makes sure that people in Tripura do not just become literate but educated, officials emphasised. One pointer to the government’s interest in education is the near-total absence of child labour in Tripura.

Education also serves the larger purpose of improving the status of society. The plan for 100 percent literacy is just the byproduct of this larger vision that Tripura government has for the state, according to officials.

Read more here-  http://www.governancenow.com/news/blogs/how-tripura-became-indias-top-literate-state

Enhanced by Zemanta

Related posts

Does Nandan Nilekani thinks citizens of India are DUMB ? #Aadhaar #UID

Nandan Nilekani

 

 

 

Didn’t grasp govt dynamics, but have support: Nilekani
Express news service Posted online: Sat Feb 16 2013, 00:58 hrs
Mumbai : Nandan Nilekani is not just determined to provide Aadhaar, the 12-digit individual identification number, to citizens across India but to make the idea “irreversible” and “sustainable” before the next elections.
“Making Aadhaar irreversible is a very important strategic objective. I think the irreversibility comes when half a billion Indians have Aadhaar number,” Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), said at the Express Adda here Thursday evening. “If we can reach 500 million people by 2014, then I think it’s set.”
On opposition to the concept within the government, he said he “didn’t understand the internal competitive dynamics of the government”.
However, Nilekani added, Aadhaar had got “terrific momentum” and “huge support” from various departments. “I received tremendous political support. It was tripartisan support… from UPA-ruled states, BJP states and Tripura. I personally went to every state and met the chief minister and bureaucrats.”
“Fundamentally you can’t do a project of this scale which has the potential to cause so much disruptive change without unstinted political endorsement. I think all key people in the government provided that unstinted political endorsement.”
Nilekani, who was in conversation with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta and McKinsey & Company Chairman, India, Adil Zainulbhai, also said there was no real measurement of performance in something like UID. “My team at UIDAI is extremely passionate and the best part is that they are from the system,” he said.
Asked about the most challenging problem he had faced, the Infosys co-founder said: “Getting that design and architecture right to make a change is very, very important… When you want to make a change, there will always be a negative coalition against what you are doing. How do you create a minimally invasive method of implementing a change? Change by method is opposed. Make your change blunt… We can’t do much except move quickly and expeditiously.”
Did he ever think of giving up? “There were many occasions where I felt it was a bumpy ride… I faced great stress, but I never felt I should quit. I felt I have to see it through. If I fail, then I let down a thousand guys who wanted to do what I do. A lot of other people’s aspirations depend on my delivering,” Nilekani said.
UIDAI has already enrolled 300 million people and another 270 million have been issued numbers, he added. With it, Nilekani said, “government expenditure becomes more efficient. The entire cost of this project is less than $4 billion. Your annual expenditure on entitlements, subsidies etc is something like $60 billion. For a life-time investment of $4 billion, you get efficiency on $60 billion. Tomorrow it could be $100 billion.”

 

 

 

Related posts

Tripura Opposes Direct Cash Transfer #AAdhaar #UID

AGARTALA | DEC 07, 2012, Outlook
Tripura today opposed Centre’s plan for direct cash transfer to the bank accounts of the customers of fair price shop for giving subsidy on the plea that it would cripple the existing Public Distribution System (PDS).

“I have written a letter to the Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister K V Thomas to withdraw the proposal for direct subsidy cash transfer and also clarify in detail how the new system would help the poor,” state Food and Civil Supply minister Manik De said.

The new system would be introduced in 51 districts of the country and the four districts of Tripura were also included among them.

De said the state government has received a communication from the Centre that all the card holders of ration shops should make their bank accounts for transferring the cash subsidy.

“It is difficult to get new bank accounts within January and also include their Aadhar (UID) numbers and send it to the Centre. In rural areas the banks are inadequate in number. The new system would leave us into inconveniences”, he told reporters.

 

Related posts

How safe is Bangalore for North East Indians? Where is ‘rule of law’?

2:50 AM, 25th October 2012, Bangalore, Manohar  Elavarthi

I feel very tired and exhausted after spending 5 hours running around in the Bangalore City, waiting in front of Seshadripuram Police Station and interacting with the police personnel. I am writing this in the midnight as what I saw today is extremely disturbing and frustrating.

Tejaswini, activist handing the 24×7 NorthEast telephone helpline (http://northeastsolidarity.blogspot.in/2012/08/north-east-helpline-launched-in.html) on behalf of Peace and Solidarity Forum received a phone call at around 9:30 PM on 24th October 2012 from a person of Tripura origin living in Seshadripuram area. He told that North East Indians living in his building were facing constant physical assaults, extortion and threats using dangerous weapons for the past 2 months. Tejaswini, Bharati, Hanumath, Harish, Prakashraj (fellow activists from Praja Rajakiya Vedike http://www.facebook.com/prajarajakiya) and myself rushed from different locations of Bangalore and reached Seshadripuram around 10:15 PM.

We met 8 North East Indians (from Assam and Tripura) living in the same building, 4 people each living in a small room with very little ventilation. They are working as security guards/ sales persons in Mantri Mall/ Orion Mall/ nationalised banks/ other establishments in the nearby localities. These workers didn’t leave Bangalore City during the exodus of estimated 30000 North East Indians out of Bangalore City in August 2012. These people try to save as much as possible from their meagre salaries to be sent to the families back home in the North East. Their ordeal began after Ramzan in end-August.

4 goondas named Karan, Santosh, Manjunath and Ramesh, who live in the same locality started coming in the night, mostly in groups of 2/3 and harass, abuse, threaten and extort money from these North East workers. Multiple time they used sharp knives to threatened these workers and threatened to kill them if they don’t give them money. Multiple times many North East workers were physically assaulted. On the afternoon of 6th October 2012 (Karnataka Bundh on Cauvery issue) 2 of the goondas physically assaulted a worker and asked him to collect Rs. 500/- each from the workers’ from their monthly wages (generally received on 10th day of each month) and give it to the goondas if they want to be be safe. The goondas threatened to kill all the North East workers otherwise.

This seems to have led to most of the 100+ North East workers living in the building running away from there in the past 20 days. Some have shifted to other areas and others have left Bangalore City. Those who continue to live there faced increased brutality. Goondas physically attacked 2 North East workers on 23rd October 2012 night and extorted Rs. 2000/- from them. In the morning of 24th October 2012, the workers went to the Seshdripuram Police Station and complained about their ordeal. Police didn’t bother to take any action. Same day at 7:30 PM the goondas barged into a room, hit a North East worker and snatched his N-70 NOKIA mobile phone away. The workers started calling their people in Tripura and Assam. According to them one of their friend from Tripura got the NorthEast helpline telephone number from the Chief Minister of Tripura (?).

The North East workers told us that they have to give a large amount of their money to these goondas. They said that they are fed-up of giving their hard earned money to these goondas and having no money to celebrate the festival (most of them are Hindu and others are Muslim). By around 10:45 PM we went to the Seshadripuram Police Station. In spite of all our efforts the police personnel were not willing to register the complaint or take action in catching the goondas (the workers wanted to show the houses of goondas so that they can be caught by the police). The police showed no interest in doing their duty. We were told by the police personnel to come on 25th morning as the Police Inspector will come to the station at that time. After waiting (and standing as they made us wait outside the station, where there is no seating) for more than 2 hours in front of the police station, we decided to inform the media.

In spite of it being middle of the night, media personnel from many Kannada-news channels and 1/2 newspapers reached the station in less than 15 minutes time. After media starting to interact with the victims, police started doing their duty. Police started pressurising us to lodge the police complaint before talking to the media. With in 30 minutes time, the Police Inspector also arrived at the station. Police were able to detain 3 of the 4 accused in the Police Station within the next 30 minutes. I am not sure what would have happened without the media presence. Police suddenly started offering us chairs to sit inside the station. They promised security for the North East workers today night. They took the written complaint of the workers and promised to give the FIR copy tomorrow morning.

Even when the police were doing their work after the media intervention, the driver of police Zeep threatened 2 of our activists who accompanied the North East workers in the Zeep to identify the houses of the goondas. He told that there will be no safety for North East workers if we lodge a complaint against the goondas. He told that the goondas have a lot of support in the area and that 50000 strong crowd from the area will hit the North East workers and our activists tomorrow. He told the activists not to register a complaint against the goondas.

Why are the police not-responsive to us? Why is police driver seems to be on the side of goondas? Why are police seem to be soft on these goondas? Do police benefit by being soft on goondas? If this is the police response when a large section of activists come to police station, what will be the police response for the complaints of ordinary citizens and particularly those from disadvantaged sections of society?

Will these North East Indians get justice? Will they be chased away from the area soon. We also heard that one of the goonda (Karan) has multiple police cases against him already. Are we putting the North East Indians in danger by asking them to take action against gross injustice?

This is not the first time, there are many instances of police neglect in the past as well, some of them are

– police took more than 2 hours in the night to visit the house of a North East Indian in Koramangala area who was threatened

– police took more than 2 hours in the night, when a house of North East students were attacked in Banaswadi area with stones, after reaching the place the drunk policeman demanded money from the students

– police didn’t book a case against a senior police officer and his son for brutally assaulting 4 North-East students in the National Games Village recently. Police seems to have fed the false story in the media that the students were drunk and were dancing to the loud music in their flat when the incident took place. Forget loud music, the flat itself was locked at that time. The 4 students were waiting downstairs after coming to visit their friend (who stays in a flat in that apartment complex) as their friend was away. This happens in a place where 2 senior-most officers of North East origin – Mr. Lalrokhuma Pachao (present Director General of Police, Karanatka) and Mr. HT Sangliana (ex-Bangalore City Police Commissioner and ex-Member of Parliament elected to Loksabha from Bangalore City) live in the same area.

It looks like there is no ‘rule of law’. Police are supposed to enforce the ‘rule of law’. Where do ordinary people who have no activist or media connections go? Is there some home? Is there some way?

I will end here, for now.

CONTACT MANOHAR AT – [email protected]

Related posts

And now, rape as political witch-hunt. The stories of 7 women

Tripura is the CPM’s last bastion. But its crude attempts to smother rivals is leaving the party red-faced, says Ratnadip Choudhury

ON 20 MARCH, two tribal girls in their early 20s were allegedly tortured and gang-raped by a group of tribal men in Takka Tulsi, a remote hamlet in southern Tripura. The incident hardly found a mention in the national media. Even in the Northeast, the media failed to read between the lines of what this incident tells about the tiny state that boasts of a high literacy rate, rural development and political consciousness. But the pain and trauma of the victims can be felt and heard in almost every tribal belt in Tripura, the last bastion of the Left Front in India.

Indeed, women have been at the receiving end of the Left Front’s 19-year rule in the state. They have been tortured, gangraped and even murdered at will. Kangaroo courts have been used to brand tribal women as witches, and their moral character questioned, all for ulterior political designs.

According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), Tripura had India’s worst crime rate against women: 46.5 per lakh population in 2010. Between April 2010 and March 2011, the Tripura Commission for Women (TCW) received 913 cases of crime against women, out of which 62 were against tribals.

So, why this spurt in rapes against tribal women in Tripura? Historically, the Left Front had reigned supreme in the tribal areas but its support base has started eroding. Every day, tribals are deserting the CPM and joining regional parties because they believe that CPM leaders share benefits of government schemes only with their relatives and cadres. Rattled by the desertion and its debacle in West Bengal, the CPM cadres are trying every trick in the trade to retain power in next year’s Assembly polls. But for now, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and the TCW have some explaining to do about these shocking crime figures.

“The high rate of crime against women in Tripura is a concern,” says CPM state secretary Bijan Dhar, adding, “I agree that since we have been in power for 19 years, a section of our people got inclined towards power and at times ideology takes a back seat.”

The magnitude of the political pressure is so intense that the watchdog TCW is almost parroting the state government’s tune. “Politics on a sensitive issue like rape is not desirable. We are alarmed by the increase in rape cases and we have been taking action but it is not like that the government is not sensitive,” says TCW chairperson Dr Tapati Chakraborty.

But the Congress is in no mood to desist from politicking on the issue. “It is the tribal vote bank that has kept the Left in power for so long; they have done nothing for them,” says Leader of the Opposition and Congress MLA Ratan Lal Nath. “The CPM cadres have done heinous crimes against women and got away with it, but we will fight against this menace.”

TEHELKA travelled to some of the remotest villages to understand why the tribal women are at peril. The driver who took us around, gave us a primer. “Tripura has adequate power and good roads, even in remote areas. It has been the best state in the implementation of MGNREGA,” he says. “But the truth is that one can enjoy the fruits of development only if he/she supports the ruling party. Political rivals are boycotted economically and socially, mentally harassed and assaulted by CPM cadres.”

There are numerous cases of violence against tribals that paint a shoddy picture of the state of affairs in Tripura, where the Left Front won 19 of the 20 seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes in the 60-member Assembly in 2008. However, it’s not just the tribals who are bearing the brunt. The TCW records between April 2010 and March 2011 show that 28.37 percent of the crimes were against SCs, 13.14 percent against Muslims and 20.37 percent against OBCs. These numbers are enough for the Left Front to realise that its final bastion is in big trouble.

Ratnadip Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent with Tehelka
[email protected]

Related posts