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Bedlam in Tripura assembly over ex-minister's killing

The Tripura state assembly on Monday witnessed bedlam over assassination of former Tripura health minister Bimal Sinha and his brother in 1998, with the opposition Congress demanding a fresh probe in it.

The pandemonium started after Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath rejected an adjournment motion moved by opposition leader Sudip Roy Barman. The house had to be adjourned twice due to the uproar in the house.

The adjournment motion sought to discuss the judicial inquiry commission's report on the assassination of the former minister and his brother 18 years ago.

The report of the inquiry commission, headed by Justice (retd) M.A. Yusuf of the Calcutta High Court, submitted before the government in June 2000, was presented in the state assembly on March 23 following the Tripura High Court order.

"To hush up the real truth, the Left Front government has not cooperated with the inquiry commission. The state government, headed by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar that time, had rejected the Congress' demand to probe the assassination by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation)," Barman told reporters after the adjournment of the house.

"The Yusuf Commission identified 27 accused relating to the killing, but none was punished so far," he said.

"Surprisingly, the state government filed repeated petitions before the sessions court, the high court and the Supreme Court to let off three heinous criminals who were among the 27 accused. However, all the courts rejected the state government's appeal," he added.

Demanding a fresh inquiry into the former minister's killing, Barman accompanied by former opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath, state party president Birajit Sinha and other leaders alleged that Sinha was killed as he wanted to be the chief minister.

Referring to various comments of the commission, the Congress leader said if the CBI had probed the murder, many things would have been exposed against the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M ) and its leadership.

According to the report of the Yusuf Commission, neither the state government nor Tripura Police was responsible for Sinha's killing. He was solely responsible for his and his brother's killing.

Sinha and his brother were shot dead by proscribed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) on March 31, 1998, at Kamalpur in northern Tripura.

The Commission in its findings said: "Minister (Sinha) used to instruct his security personnel to remain far away from him whenever he went to meet the collaborators of the militants. He never allowed his security and escort personnel to come nearer to him or to accompany him... this he did for the release of his brother Bikram Sinha from the clutches of the militants."

The slain minister's younger brother had been kidnapped by the NLFT weeks before the sensational killings.

The Yusuf Commission was appointed by the Left Front government in 1998 and submitted its report on January 31, 2000.

Following a writ petition filed by advocate Kalyani Roy, who heads the state Congress' women's wing, the Tripura High Court recently asked the state government to publish the report.

March 28, 2016

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