Agartala, July 13 (IANS): Life in Tripura was crippled by a 12-hour strike called by the ruling Left Front and the Opposition Congress today following a series of clashes between the police and Congress workers for the past three days.
The Congress has demanded dismissal of the Left Front government and promulgation of president's Rule in the State, alleging a "breakdown in the law-and-order situation".
The Left Front has blamed the Congress for "conspiring against the State government by creating a situation of lawlessness".
A three-member team of the All India Congress Committee led by Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik arrived here today to assess the situation.
Shops, markets, banks, offices and educational institutions remained closed in the dawn-to-dusk shutdown. Roads were deserted and rail services between Tripura and the rest of the country were also affected. However, air services on the Agartala-Kolkata and Agartala-Guwahati routes were normal, an Agartala airport official told IANS. Bus services between Tripura and other northeastern states and Bangladesh also were hit.
"The shutdown remained peaceful. No major untoward incident was reported from anywhere," police spokesperson Tushar Kanti Das said.
A 21-year-old youth was killed and 41 people, including 15 policemen, injured in Agartala on Monday in a clash between the police and Congress workers, who were protesting police baton-charge on party activists on Sunday.
"Monday's clashes between the Congress workers and security forces started when the former attacked the West Kotwali police station and ransacked it," Das told reporters.
At least 70 people, including 13 policemen, were injured here Sunday during a clash between the police and Congress workers who were protesting conduct of the entrance test of a local medical college, alleging that the state adopted discriminatory policies towards the state's medical students.
The Common Entrance Test (CET) for admission to MBBS and B.Sc. nursing courses in the Tripura Medical College (TMC), run by a society, was held Sunday at the Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) College.
The Tripura government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into Monday's clashes in which the 21-year-old youth was killed.
Said Luizinho Faleiro, AICC general secretary in-charge of party affairs Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya and Sikkim, in a statement: "I demand that state Governor D.Y. Patil take serious note of the situation and send a special report recommending dismissal of this corrupt and undemocratic government in Tripura."
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front has accused the Congress of trying to "turn the situation into an anarchy like West Bengal" and come to power through the back door.
"Like terrorists, the Congress, with the help of armed criminals, Monday attacked the West Kotowali police station. This shows that they (Congress leaders) have no people's support. They have opened a black chapter in the state," CPI-M state secretary Bijon Dhar told reporters here.