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Tripura: Mobile internet, SMS services restored

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Agartala, Jul 2: Mobile internet and messaging services, which were suspended in Tripura since June 28 following three incidents of lynching, have been restored, a senior police officer said. Inspector General of Police (IGP), Law and Order, K V Sreejesh, told PTI on Monday that the services were restored last evening following an improvement in the overall situation.

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No fresh case of mob violence or rumour-mongering over child-lifting were reported across the state today, the police said. Fourteen people have been arrested so far in connection with the incidents, Assistant Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Smriti Ranjan Das said. Mobile internet and SMS services were suspended in the state following the lynching of three persons.

On June 28, a man hired by the Tripura Information and Culture Department to spread awareness against rumour- mongering was lynched by a mob at Kalachhara in South Tripura district. On the same day, an unidentified woman and a hawker from Uttar Pradesh were beaten to death on the suspicion of them being child-lifters at Bishalgarh in Sipahijala district and Murabari in West Tripura district respectively.

The cases of lynching had triggered a blame game between the ruling BJP and the opposition CPI(M) and Congress. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath had blamed the CPI(M) for the lynching incidents, while the Left party and the Congress held Nath responsible for the incidents. The mobs had been charged because of the "baseless" comments of organ harvesting by Nath and he was liable for the three deaths, state Congress vice-president Tapas Dey had alleged. The body of an 11-year-old boy with deep wounds on the neck and back was found at Bhumiheen Colony of Mohanpur sub-division in West Tripura district, a day before the lynching incidents took place.

Nath, who is the MLA from the Mohanpur Assembly Constituency, had visited the bereaved family the same day.

"In a video that went viral on social media, Nath was seen stating the wounds on the boy's body suggested that his kidneys might have been extracted," Dey said.

However, the chief minister had said in the state assembly that no organs were harvested from the boy's body. CPI(M) spokesperson Goutam Das had alleged that the Law minister himself should be held responsible for rumour-mongering.

To keep the rumours over child-lifting and mob violence at bay, the Tripura Police has launched community engagement initiatives across the state.

"All district police officials have been asked to initiate confidence-building measures in their area to sensitise people against rumour-mongering," the IGP (Law and Order) said. The chief minister has also appealed to the people to maintain calm.


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