Accusing the petitioner of “unclean hands” and “selective outrage”, the BJP government in Tripura has filed a strongly-worded objection to a plea in the Supreme Court which sought an independent probe into incidents of communal violence that took place in the state last October.
Questioning the petitioner’s “silence” on the violence in Bengal before and after last year’s elections, the Tripura government labelled the Public Interest Litigation “selective public interest” and called for a for an “exemplary cost” to be imposed upon the petitioner.
The state government has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition and has pointed out that the top court had refused to intervene when a plea which had sought a probe into the Bengal post-poll violence was brought before it. The Supreme Court had asked the petitioners to approach High Court instead.
“The so-called ‘public spirit’ of the petitioners did not move few months back in a larger scale of communal violence and suddenly their ‘public spirit’ aroused due to some instances in a small state like Tripura,” the state government’s filing read.
Calling the petitioner’s allegations “unilateral, exaggerated and distorted version of incidents”, the Tripura government said cases have already been registered and arrests made against those responsible for the violence. Their links with Pakistan’s spy agency ISI were also being probed, it said.
The top court had earlier issued notice to the Tripura government, which went as far as arresting journalists reporting on the incidents of violence last year, seeking its response on the plea filed by lawyer Ehtesham Hashmi.
Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Mr Hashmi, had said last year that they want an independent probe into the “recent communal riots and investigation into the alleged complicity of police in it”.
“There are several cases related to Tripura before the court. Few lawyers, who went on fact-finding missions, were served with notices. UAPA charges were slapped on journalists. Police did not register a single FIR in the cases of violence. We want all this to be investigated by an independent panel monitored by the court,” Mr Bhushan said.
The north-eastern state had witnessed incidents of arson, looting and violence after reports emerged from Bangladesh that Hindu minorities there had been attacked during ‘Durga Puja’ on allegations of blasphemy.