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The Guwahati High Court Monday asked Tripura’s ruling Left Front, led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), not to apply force to ensure Tuesday’s strike to protest rising prices.

It also directed the state government to take adequate measures to maintain normalcy.

The ruling Left Front has called the shutdown in Tripura Tuesday as part of a countrywide agitation called by 13 opposition parties against rising prices.

The court passed the order on a writ petition last week of opposition Congress candidate Sachindra Debbarma, who is contesting the May 3 elections to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).

The judge of the Agartala bench of the Guwahati High Court, Justice Hrishikesh Roy, directed the ruling Left Front not to apply force or intimidate the people and not to create any obstacles for free movement of vehicular traffic.

‘I am also directing the chief secretary of the Tripura government to take adequate steps to maintain normalcy across the state Tuesday and to ensure that no political party or individual can apply force to ensure the shutdown,’ the judge said in a packed court room.

‘The petitioner has filed the writ petition seeking directions from the court to notify Tuesday’s strike as illegal and unconstitutional as the shut down would prevent him from conducting free campaign and movement for the May 3 TTAADC polls,’ Debbarma’s lawyer Pijush Biswas told reporters after the high court ruling.

The petitioner also contended that Tuesday’s shutdown would violate Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution where free expression of opinion, movement and freedom have been been guaranteed.

Biswas, a senior lawyer, said he would observe whether the ruling parties comply with the court order on Tuesday. ‘We shall move a contempt petition if the Left parties apply force.’

Commenting on the high court order, CPI-M Tripura state committee secretary Bijon Dhar told reporters: ‘When the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is solely responsible for the rising of prices of essential commodities, the Congress is moving court to curb the democratic rights of the people to protest price rise.’

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