On the evening of June 4, 2018 a large number of goons belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) entered the house of the State President of Student Federation of India (SFI), Tripura, Nilanjana Roy and physically assaulted her. According to a press statement by the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) Roy’s family was also beaten up.

In an exclusive interview with The Citizen, Roy said, “70-80 women were waiting outside and I sensed something was unnatural. They were asking for me and said “Nilanjana ko bahar nikalo”.

Q. Could you elaborate on what exactly happened yesterday?

Around 7:30 in the evening, 4 to 5 women came to my house asking for me. They didn’t know I was Nilanjana so I called my sister to act as me. They started attacking her, then I intervened and told them that I am Nilanjana. One of the women recognised me.

By this time, there were about 200 women and 2-3 men. I don’t know what they had in their hand, maybe it was bamboo, glass or wood. They started attacking me. It lasted for around 8 hours after which they left.

Q. What happened once they left?

Everyone around me suggested that I go to the hospital. My elder brother got the car and both of us left for the hospital. When we reached the Vidyasagar market, 50-60 men with 4-5 women stopped the car. They asked us to get out of the car otherwise they would kill us or set our car ablaze. When we got out, they attacked me and my brother. My brother suffered from a blow to the head.They were getting extremely violent when a few shopkeepers took me to a secure area.After that the situation worsened and around 600 people had gathered. They then started going to each house asking for me. By this time the police had come.

Q. Was the police able to control the situation?

No, the goons attacked the police as well. They even destroyed my brother’s car. At this point, they started shouting BJP slogans.

Q. Who are ‘they’?

BJP workers. The women who came to the house were the women workers of the party. I recognise many people from the mob at the Vidyasagar market. They usually work during protests and agitations on behalf of BJP. All of them are BJP workers. There were 33 BJP booth presidents in the mob. A BJP general secretary for BJP, was there as well.

Q. According to you, why did this happen? What is the backdrop for this attack?

They are against student activists. They want the organisations to stop working. SFI is working 365 days for causes, which these people don’t appreciate. These people on the other hand are goons who only raise slogans. They attack women and believe in dominating them. On one hand, they highlight “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” and on the other hand they cannot deal with a female student political leader.

Q. Do you think there was a trigger for this attack? Did anything happen in the last few weeks that could have been a trigger?

Nothing as such. I don’t think I did anything recently that could lead to the attack.