Amid prevailing communal tension in Tripura and rumours of religious places being targeted in circulation, the Centre on Saturday issued a statement urging people to maintain calm and not believe fake news. It also asserted that no mosque has been damaged in Tripura in the recent past and that there were no reports of injury, rape or death in any clash in the state.
The MHA specifically attempted to put to rest rumours of a particular mosque in Gomati district being vandalised. “There have been news reports that have been circulating that a mosque in Kakraban area of Gomati district in Tripura has been damaged and vandalized. These news reports are fake and are a complete misrepresentation of facts. The mosque in Dargabazar area of Kakraban has not been damaged and the Tripura Police in Gomati district is working to maintain peace and tranquillity,” the statement said.
In protest against the vandalism on Durga Puja pandals in Bangladesh recently, rallies were taken out by organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM), among others in Tripura. During some of these protest rallies, miscreants purportedly vandalised several houses, shops and mosques. The state government has however maintained there is no communal tension in the state.
“People should maintain calm and should not be misguided by such fake reports. For instance, in Maharashtra there have been reports of violence and unsavoury statements that are aimed at disturbing peace and harmony, based on fake news regarding Tripura. This is very concerning and it is urged that peace is maintained at all costs,” the MHA said in its statement.
In response to reports of incidents in Tripura, there have been rallies in Maharashtra which have witnessed violence. At least 20 FIRs have been registered in connection with stone pelting during rallies held in protest against the Tripura communal violence in five districts of Maharashtra and 20 persons have been arrested, state police said on Saturday.
The incidents of stone pelting had mainly occurred in Amravati, Malegaon and Nanded cities during the rallies taken out by some Muslim organisations on Friday.
Reacting to the stone-pelting incident at Maharashtra, Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma said there was no history of communal riots in Tripura and claimed a section of people are trying to do “narrow politics” by spreading fake news. Speaking to reporters this evening, Dev Varma said, “Situation in Tripura is normal. There is a strong communal harmony among people of all religions here. Some people are trying to disturb this peace and harmony. A section is trying to enter through back door. It’s a conspiracy.”
He strongly condemned stone pelting in Maharashtra and said it was unfortunate that this happened in the name of Tripura. Dev Varma also appealed to the people of Tripura to stay wary against rumour mongering.
Last week, the Tripura Police booked 102 social media account holders under terror charges, for allegedly spreading “objectionable news items/ statements” regarding the recent violence, and served notices to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube asking them to delete these accounts and provide particulars of the individuals operating them.
The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to fix a date to hear a plea challenging the Tripura Police decision to invoke the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against two Supreme Court lawyers, who visited the state as part of an independent fact-finding team following reports of communal violence, and a journalist.
The team had published a report which alleged that a few Hindu organisations had unleashed violence in areas of minority habitations, including mosques, homes, and shops owned by members of the minority community.