Agartala, June 4 (PTI) Leader of opposition and former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar on Friday came out in support of the statement made by CPI-M MLA Bhanulal Saha on social media urging people to "resist goons of the ruling BJP" with sticks and pipes.

Sarkar told reporters, in the prevailing situation if Bhanu Lal Saha and other CPIM leaders have expressed their views, they have not committed any crime.

Saha, a former minister, stirred a row on May 31 when he took to Facebook and said, "Keep sticks, da (sickle), iron pipes etc handy, irrespective of your age and gender, for resisting bricks, kicks, petrol bombs hurled by them. Gather courage to face attackers. It's not a crime to pick up things for self defence. Its impossible to protect life and property without resistance.

"O youth, turn into fire. Hundreds-thousands of youths should be ready. Resist lumpens and ruling party goons with courage. Join people from the locality and take charge." Sarkar said, the CPIM) does not believe in violence, but BJP activists are attacking supporters of opposition parties without any provocation.

They have not asked people to attack anyone, at least what I understand from their statement. Saha had said that nobody will help them. They have to save themselves and be prepared for that.

The statement has come because the state has failed to work and control the situation," the former chief minister said.

Sarkar alleged that ever since the BJP came to power in Tripura, they have been resorting to violence to suppress the voice of the people.

Sarkar, who is also the politburo member of CPI-M said, on several occasions, CPI-M delegates had met Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Governor Ramesh Bais, and the police chief to apprise them of the situation, but no positive developments happened The chief minister, who is also the home minister of the state, had given an assurance on the floor of the House that no violence would be tolerated, but it did not materialise, Sarkar said.

The governor had assured a CPI-M delegation that violence would not continue and party leaders and MLAs would be able to work freely across the state, Sarkar said.

Tripura Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath on Thursday said multiple cases have been filed against Bhanu Lal Saha at different police stations of the state for his "provocative statement".

The CPI(M) will be responsible if any riot or law and order situation arises in the state, the minister said, adding that Saha's remark has been brought to the notice of Speaker Rebati Mohan Das.

A senior police officer said the matter is under investigation.

Defending his statement, the CPI(M) MLA, in an interview to a local TV channel, had said on Wednesday that he had given a "call for resistance" as party members and supporters were repeatedly being attacked by BJP activists.

"These are unprovoked attacks, and that is why I had to give a call for resistance. I am ready to go to jail for my statement," the Bisalgarh legislator said.