About 300 people of West Tripura district, who had fled the area after their homes were torched and looted over the alleged molestation of a girl, said on Saturday that they were scared to return.
They alleged that the looting and ransacking of their houses in Lalit Bazaar locality under the Ranir Bazaar police station limit was instigated by Revenue Minister and prominent tribal leader N.C. Debbarma.
Mr. Debbarma, president of the Indigenous People’s Front Tripura (IPFT), declined to comment on the charge. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Cr.PC were promulgated in the area for 48 hours from 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sub-divisional Magistrate Subhasish Bandopaddhyaya said.
A group of tribal youths started torching and looting houses only after the Minister’s visit on Friday, said the villagers who have taken shelter in a school.
“The ransacking and looting of our houses started only after N.C. Debbarma visited the spot. He came here at 9 a.m. and looting of our houses started around an hour later,” 50-year-old Samena Khatun alleged.
Scared to return
Sulekha Khatun, aged 45, said, “My house was set ablaze, my belongings looted. I do not want to return. Let the police shoot me dead. I will not return.”
The conflict began when a girl, along with her boyfriend, had come to Ranir Bazaar area on Thursday from a nearby locality to see Durga idols there and four youths allegedly molested her and snatched her phone.
The girl and boy went back to their locality and returned with a large group of people who tried to attack the houses of those who reportedly molested the girl. The four accused were arrested on Friday but the attack on the village continued. A large contingent of police has been deployed in the area.
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