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PRESS RELEASE: NHRC urged to transfer Tripura’s Pindulal Chakma murder case to the CBI and invoke Prevention of Atrocities Act

NEW DELHI, 24 DECEMBER 2020: The National Campaign Against Torture (NCAT) in its complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) sought the directions to the Tripura Government to transfer Pindulal Chakma murder case to the CBI for fair inquiry to meet the ends of justice and invoke the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Pindulal Chakma, a Scheduled Tribe of Laljuri Burshingpara under Kanchanpur Police Station, North Tripura district succumbed to his injuries on 4th November 2020 after murderous assault by non-tribal/general category people on 22 October 2020 while holding a peaceful protest against grabbing of his lands.

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On the morning of 22 October 2020, “non-tribal/general category people” associated with Vivekananda Memorial Club forcibly constructed a Pandal for Durga Puja on Pindulal Chakmas land allotted by the Forest Department under the Forest Rights Act in May 2009 at Laljuri. Pindulal Chakma and his family members immediately approached the Kanchanpur Police Station to lodge a complaint against the illegal trespass and land grabbing through construction of a pandal for Durga Puja. The police instead of taking action on a strictly ‘law and order’ issue directed them to approach the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Kanchanpur as it was a land dispute. They thereafter submitted a complaint to the SDM but the SDM also did not take timely action. Thereafter, Pindulal Chakma with his family members and villagers sat on a peaceful protest at Laljuri. About 150-200 “non-tribal/general category people”, including those who constructed the Pandal, attacked the peaceful protestors with Doa, lathi etc and grievously injured Pindulal Chakma and Bikanta Chakma.

“It was premeditated murder as Pindulal Chakma was specifically targeted among the protestors and further he was not allowed to be taken to Laljuri Hospital by the general category mob and therefore had to be taken to Machmara Hospital which referred to Dharmanagar District Hospital and then to the ILS Hospital at Agartala before succumbing to his injuries on 4th November 2020 at ILS Hospital, Agartala.”- stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Coordinator of the NCAT.

“Following the murderous attack on 22 October 2020, Tripura Police registered FIR No. 40/2020 under Sections 341, 320, 307 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code but did not invoke the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act despite it being a case of grabbing the lands of tribals by non-tribals as alleged in the complaint itself. This clearly shows that the State government of Tripura is not implementing the Prevention of Atrocities Act.”- further stated Mr Chakma.

The NCAT in its complaint further urged the NHRC to provide relief to the next of kin of Pindulal Chakma, injured Bikanta Chakma and other victims as per the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules of 2016, declare Laljuri Bursignpara under Kanchanpur Police Station as an “identified area” prone to caste violence because of the threat, and direct the Government of Tripura to submit status report on the implementation of the Prevention of Atrocities Act. [Ends]

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