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Fundamentalists eclipsing democracy in Bangladesh

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Kolkata: Expressing concern over the atrocious rise of fundamentalist power in Bangladesh eminent Ajoy Roy, the father of slain secularist writer-blogger Avijit Roy, on Tuesday urged the youth to thwart the threat and uphold democracy.

Participating in a discussion on “Intolerance and Democracy” at Calcutta University, Ajoy Roy said Bangladesh was going through tough times where fundamentalists were running the show and wiping out the secular fabric and democracy in the country.

“Fundamentalists have now eclipsed free thinking and are now devouring the society. If we don’t stand up now, then I have to say, Bangladesh’s democracy is in real danger.”

“There is no alternative unless stopped, they will wipe out secularism, they will wipe out democracy,” he said.

Expressing deep anguish and grief over the killing of his son and other bloggers, Roy urged the youth to stand up against communal forces and take up arms if the need be.

“Our only hope now is the youth. But then, only writing or words will not suffice. We need to build a movement, we need to hit the streets. The onus is now on the youth to carry forward the legacy of our freedom fighters and save our country.”

“If the need be, they (youth) should be ready to take up arms against these elements.”

“When fundamentalists are charging towards you with swords, how do you counter them? You need to talk to them in a language which they understand,” he exhorted.

Besides Avijit Roy, three other bloggers — Oyasiqur Rahman Babu, Ananta Bijoy Das and Niladri Chatterjee Niloy — were hacked to death by Islamist militants.

All four bloggers were involved with the ‘Ganajagaran Mancha’, a movement demanding maximum penalty for those who committed war crimes during the 1971 Bangladesh freedom struggle and a ban on religion-based politics.

On the occasion, historians Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar expressed grave concern over the growing influence of Hindutva outfits, including the RSS and the VHP, and asserted intolerance was steadily rising since the advent of the Narendra Modi government.

“As writers or historians, we don’t know which of our work will enrage the Hindutva outfits and we will have to face their wrath.

“It would not be far-fetched to say that had Bhagat Singh been alive today and if he had written his last book ‘Why I am an Atheist’ now, maybe he would have met the same fate as Govind Pansare,” said Tanika Sarkar.

Referring to the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi, Tanika Sarkar congratulated all those who had returned their awards in protests against the growing intolerance.(IANS)

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Left Wing to be Blamed for Lack of Development in Tripura: CM Biplab Kumar Deb

Left's bad legacy hindering Tripura's growth: CM

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Biplab Deb
A photo of the Heritage Park in Agartala, Tripura. Wikimedia Commons

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Monday claimed that the previous Left Front government’s “terrible legacies of corruption, misgovernance and party domination” over 25 years were major hindrances for the BJP- led government’s developmental efforts.

Despite the erstwhile Left government’s “all-round non-performance”, Tripura under his government would become a model state in three years since the state had gained leading position on many counts in the last two years, the Chief Minister told IANS in an interview as his government completed two years on Monday.

“In just two years, we made Tripura corruption-free, removed middlemen’s role, initiated online systems in almost all public services to reach the doorsteps of people, reduce crime, boost growth and per-capita income,” he added.

Biplab Deb
Biplab Kumar Deb, the CM of Tripura has pledged to make Tripura drugs-free. Wikimedia Commons

To further improve connectivity between land-locked Tripura and the rest of the world, ambitious projects of railways, roadways, waterways, and airways are under implementation, Deb added.

After completion of the ongoing such projects either by year-end or early next year, all northeastern states would benefit in terms of easier connectivity.

The 49-year-old Deb, the 11th Chief Minister of Tripura, claimed that during the Left regime ‘dal tantra’ (party-run system) dominated in all spheres, while ‘ganatantra’ (democracy) was non-existent.

“The BJP-led government had to cope with Rs 12,902-crore loan burden left by the previous Marxist government. We had to pay Rs 5.56 crore per day to repay the loan along with interest,” he added.

The BJP in alliance with tribal-based Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) had won the Assembly polls two years ago, breaking the 25-year uninterrupted rule of the Left Front led by Communist Party of India-Marxist.

Highlighting his government’s two-year performance, Deb said that in 2017-18, Tripura’s per capita income was Rs 1.05 lakh. “Because of BJP regime’s good governance, Tripura rose to 16th position from previous 21st position among 37 states and union territories in the country.”

According to Tripura Chief Minister, Sikkim topped among the northeastern states in per capita income with Rs 3.17 lakh while Tripura is now at the second position among the eight northeastern states with Rs 1.54 lakh.

Deb claimed that after the completion of the five-year term of the BJP-led government, Tripura’s per capita income would be Rs 2.26 lakh in 2022-23 and the GSDP Rs 95,46,333 crore. The state’s current GSDP is Rs 63,466 crore against Rs 44,161 crore in 2017-18, when the Left Front was in power, he said.

“The BJP government has taken several steps to boost the state’s economy by mobilising available resources. The total tax collection has increased from Rs 1,915 crore in 2017-18 fiscal to Rs 2,338 crore in the current fiscal (2019-20), a net increase of 21.82 per cent. National GST (Goods and Services Tax) collection is 3.7 per cent, but in Tripura this is over 10 per cent.”

Biplab Deb
Biplab Deb said that the Tripura government had introduced 21 new schemes and taken many steps in two years to improve the quality of education. Wikimedia Commons

Deb, who pledged to make Tripura drugs-free, said that to save the young and future generations from the menace, his government after assuming office on March9, 2018 launched a war on drug trade, cultivation and smuggling.

“As Tripura has taken a lead among northeastern states in curbing drug menace, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has asked governments in the region to make northeast India a drugs-free are by 2022.”

Deb, who holds the Home portfolio, said that the conviction rate in Tripura has increased to 47 per cent from 29 per cent and organised crime against women reduced by 10 per cent in two years.

“Crime against women in Tripura is 15 per cent less than the national average. To empower the women, 10 per cent posts in police department have been reserved for the women.”

Deb said that the Tripura government had introduced 21 new schemes and taken many steps in two years to improve the quality of education, including introduction of NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) curriculum.

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The Chief Minister assured that his government would take steps to protect the jobs of 10,323 Tripura government teachers recruited during the previous government’s tenure but now facing termination due to High Court and Supreme Court verdicts.

Regarding the expansion of eight-member Tripura council of ministers, Deb said that it would be done in due course of time. (IANS)