Tripura CM Biplab Deb on I-PAC Row

Reacting to the I-PAC controversy, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb on Thursday said he believes in the motto of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (guests are equivalent to God), but the state doesn’t meddle in police work.

“We believe in Atithi Devo Bhava. I respect Mamata Banerjee. She is elder to me, all are welcome. We don’t interfere in police work. Police have done their job. This is a bordering state and August 15 is coming, so they have to see who all are coming (to the state),” the chief minister said.

A 23-member I-PAC team was under house arrest for over 48 hours till Tuesday night, after it was asked by the police to stay inside a hotel. All members of the team were forced to undergo RT-PCR tests and released late on Tuesday night only after the reports came negative. The team was also served notices to appear in the police station on August 1 and 2. The I-PAC team were camping in the state to see if the Trinamool Congress has the potential to widen its reach in the state.

To protest against the house arrest of the I-PAC team, TMC members, including two ministers and MPs, have arrived in Tripura. The TMC claimed today that 88 people were arrested for taking part in the protest. The I-PAC team claimed that some of the arrested have been granted bail.

Earlier, TMC minister Bratya Basu, who had come to Tripura to protest against the house arrest, slammed the state government, calling the incident a sign of “fascism” and that it is “completely intolerable”.

The I-PAC controversy seems to be snowballing in Tripura, where West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is looking to expand base, considering the huge Bangla-speaking population there. The I-PAC row has put TMC in a direct clash with the BJP government in the state, where elections are due in 2023.

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