The Tripura chapter of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) will move the high court against the drive to demolish offices of political parties built on government or forest land initiated by the newly-elected ruling dispensation, party leader Jitendra Choudhury told Firstpost.
The decision comes at a time when the Tripura government has decided to raze offices of political parties and organisations affiliated to political parties, constructed illegally on government or forest land.
“The drive is primarily directed against the CPM because being a party working in the state for a long time, we have a good number of offices on government and forest land. We will be hurt the most by this drive”, said Choudhury.
A source in the government of Tripura told Firstpost there are 104 such structures in west Tripura alone and 99 of them belong to the CPM or its affiliates. Choudhury admitted the CPM and its affiliates have nearly 100 such offices but said that if all parties are taken into account, there'd be more than 300 such structures.
“Even the BJP has offices in government and forest land, though they are few in number given the short span of time the party has been active in the state”, said Choudhury. But government sources said that all illegal political offices — regardless of affiliation — would be demolished.
On Monday, Sanjay Mishra, Officer on Special Duty in the Chief Minister's Office tweeted:
Demolition of unauthorised political party offices as per the decision of government of Tripura started today in old Motorstand area of Agartala. These offices are not legally constructed.They are illegally made on Govt. And forest land. #TransformingTripura pic.twitter.com/o3b3HBYnJw
— Sanjay Mishra (@sanjayswadesh) May 7, 2018
The source in the Tripura government said, “The state cabinet decided to demolish the illegal constructions as part of its election promise to transform Tripura. The illegal constructions are not only causing public inconvenience but also are threat to conservation of forests”. The Tripura government razed 12 such premises in two days, according to the source.
The BJP, in its election campaign, vowed to transform Tripura if it came to power. Soon after the party was voted in, it resorted to rather disruptive moves in a bid to steer away from the policies of the Left Front government, which ruled Tripura for three decades. Soon after the March results, a statue of legendary communist icon Vladimir Lenin was toppled in the state's Belonia town, allegedly by BJP workers.
But Choudhury is unwilling to accept the reason given by the government for the move: Public inconvenience. “Markets and hospitals are also built on government and forest land. Tripura has vast tracts of such land, which is very difficult to convert into private or unreserved category because of legal reasons. So, over the decades, such constructions have cropped up on government and forest land. Targeting the offices of political parties is only a manifestation of a political vendetta”, he claimed.
According to a source, the Indian National Congress also has 35 such offices across the state. The party is also protesting the drive. Choudhury also accuses the Tripura government of violating state law while carrying out this exercise. “As per state revenue law, if an encroacher has been on government land for more than 20 years, he attains rights over that land. But the government has also demolished 50-year-old structures”, he added.
Choudhury said the government is also is defying injunctions from the lower court. “We have no option left other than approaching the high court,” he added.
Updated Date: May 08, 2018 22:09 PM