'The violence in Bangladesh has been used as an excuse to start violence by communal political fanatics.'
Last month there were communal riots in Bangladesh. The violence spilled over to neighbouring Tripura in India.
"Tripura has no history of communalism.The agenda is communal polarisation," Nurul Islam Mazarbhuiya -- president of the Jamat-e-Islami Hind for Assam, Tripura and Mizoram -- tells Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar.
Tripura has not known communal violence in recent times. What happened this time?
It was totally political. There is no communalism among the public. It is political communalism. One party is against communalism, the other is spreading communalism. Both want to benefit from communalism.
Hindus are friendly with us. There is 0% communalism. It has never been here in Tripura. It is a failure of the government.
Mosques have been damaged. The government is saying nothing has happened. They are hiding facts.
In Chandrapur, Agartala, Hindus helped put out the flames in a local mosque that had been set on fire. Mosques are far apart in Tripura. Few Muslims stay near a mosque.
Is the violence in Bangladesh the only reason for this, or there are other local factors?
The violence in Bangladesh has been used as an excuse, an opportunity to start violence here by communal political fanatics. There is no local factor.
In Maharani, Gomati district, a procession going past a mosque, vandalised the mosque. The SP of that district ordered a lathi-charge and controlled the situation. In other places there were processions with provocative slogans. The police did not control them.
How close are contacts between the people of Bangladesh and Tripura?
There is no contact, the border is fenced.
Did the police control the situation quickly?
They did not control the situation quickly, except in Gomati district. The CPI-M and Congress has protested against communalism. They are trying to control the situation.
Is there any politics involved in the recent violent attacks?
It is only the politics of one party -- the BJP.
The Muslim population in Tripura is only 10%. Who do you think benefits by attacking them?
It is 8.6%. It is being done to communalise the situation. The agenda is communal polarisation.
How is the situation now?
Now the situation is calm. We are sad that the government did not protect us.
What steps has the state government taken to prevent further violence?
The high court has asked the government to stop the violence. It is peaceful now.
What steps have common people taken to prevent this from happening again?
Both communities want peace. They are unhappy with the government. People are meeting to stop further violence.
What do you think the government needs to do now?
The government should repair and restore all the mosques which were damaged. They should also take steps to restore the mental damage, by giving people confidence that the violence will not happen again.
What is your organisation doing to improve the situation?
Our message to the people is that this is a political problem. Tripura has no history of communalism. We should work together for development. Religion says that all humanity is one family. We are all brothers and sisters.
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com