Tripura civil society files complaint against Pradyot Debbarma for ‘hate speech’, ‘causing ethnic enmity’

Debraj Deb
Gana Mukti Parishad, Tripura CPM, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma, CAA protests, tripura news, indian express

Pradyot has been vocal against the amendment in the citizenship law ever since the Bill was introduced in the Parliament in 2016. (File Photo)

A north Tripura-based civil society has filed a complaint against royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma for alleged statements against Bengali community, rumour mongering, causing ethnic enmity and indirect hate speech.

In the complaint, a copy of which was made available to, Nagarik Suraksha Mancha leader Anup Nath alleged that Debbarma has cast his aspersions on Bengali community by referring to them as a "bunch of monkeys".

When asked for his reaction on certain statements made by Mancha leaders at an event organised by them to commemorate 124th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on January 23, Debbarma had metaphorically referred himself as ‘sher’ or lion and said he wouldn’t respond to a bunch of monkeys.

“This has led to instigation and has dislodged the harmony among various communities staying together peacefully. As both the communities (Bengalis and Reangs) have been refugees to Tripura, any effort to trigger tension will lead to greater conflict after the promulgation of the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA). His act has been anti-semitic leading to further tensions in the area,” the complaint read.

In December last year, a joint body of different tribal political parties and social organisations headed by Debbarma called a state-wide indefinite strike against the then Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). Several shops and houses were allegedly ransacked by a group of violent protesters during the strike hours at Kanchanpur. The strike continued for three days before other leaders stepped back following a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah.

Referring to the issue, Nagarik Suraksha Mancha in its complaint alleged that Pradyot was instrumental in organising anti-CAA rallies which purportedly incited tribals against Bengalis. It also claimed ‘false police complaints’ were registered against Mancha leader Nath for carrying out  ‘philanthropic work’ in the interest of Bengalis.

North Tripura Superintendent of Police Bhanupada Chakraborty, however, said, "As the complaint is incomplete, FIR is yet to be registered."

Although Nath was unavailable for his comments on the subject. But another Mancha leader Diptendu Debnath said the plaint was filed to counter the "false complaints" lodged against Mancha leaders at Takarjala police station earlier this month. Members associated with the Mancha had also previously threatened Pradyot with an assault but later apologised for their comments.

Reacting to the complaint, Debbarma said the Mancha leaders were "attention-seeking fringe elements" trying to create "ethnic tension".

“They are fringe elements trying to gain attention. They don’t represent anybody; they are simply trying to create ethnic tension and hog attention. I have said several times that I am against any violence and I criticised losses sustained due to ransacking of shops at Kanchanpur. I am also donating Rs 1.50 lakh to the local district administration as a relief for those who suffered loss," he said.

Debbarma has been vocal against the amendment in the citizenship law ever since the Bill was introduced in the Parliament in 2016. in January 2019, he had organised a rally against the CAB in West Tripura's Madhabbari where five people were injured in police firing.

Nagarik Suraksha Mancha and Unnayan Mancha, both civil societies based in North Tripura, struck a discord with Pradyot over his opposition towards Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and advocacy for a revision of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Tripura. Debbarma had previously filed petitions with the Supreme Court on both the issues – challenging the CAA and seeking the apex court’s nod for the second.