Amid Bangladesh violence, a Tripura suburb hangs on to its peace

Creation of East Pakistan/Bangladesh changed Tripura forever. As violence across the border sees a fallout in the state, an Agartala suburb hangs on to its peace

On Friday, the Jama Masjid at South Ramnagar joined mosques across Tripura in ‘munajat (a prayer for forgiveness and peace)’, as the community suspended a protest rally at Sepahijala to avoid any flare-up. Located just 500 metres from the India-Bangladesh border, South Ramnagar, a suburban locality of mixed communities in Agartala, has not known communal tension in nearly 30 years, since the Babri Masjid demolition of 1992. As repercussions of the violence in Bangladesh are felt in Tripura, the communities here are counting on old ties to ensure peace.

A small state 10,500 sq km in area, Tripura was irrevocably changed by the creation of East Pakistan during the Partition, and its transformation to Bangladesh in 1971. During successive waves of migration of Bengali Hindus from across the international border, which lies on three sides of Tripura, the state’s largely tribal population has been reduced to a minority. Of its 36 lakh people as per the 2011 Census, roughly 9% are Muslims. The Hindus carry the memory of persecution at the hands of the Pakistani Army, which caused them to flee.