48-hour shut-down cripples life in Tripura, tension runs high
Agartala, Feb 16 (IANS) Normal life was severely affected in the tension-ridden Gandacherra sub-division in Tripura on Thursday, as a local tribal party called for a48-hour shut-down to protest “police high-handedness”.
The state police said that the government, semi-government as well as private offices, educational institutions, banks, shops and business establishments were closed.
According to the police, heavy tension has been prevailing in the tribal dominated areas.
The Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal-based party, called the 48-hour strike in Gandacherra in tribals-dominated Dhalai district to protest the alleged police “high-handedness” on February 8 when three tribal parties had called a 12-hour bandh to oppose the Centre’s citizenship bill.
Around 50 persons were injured, four of them critically, when bandh (shut-down) supporters and ruling Left Front members clashed in six places in Tripura on February 8.
On Wednesday night, five Tripura State Rifles (TSR) troopers were injured when several hundred IPFT members attacked them.
“Huge contingents of TSR, BSF (Border Security Force), CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) and Assam Rifles led by Inspector General of Police (law and order) K.V. Sreejesh are overseeing the situation in and around the Gandacherra sub-division,” a police official said here.
Three opposition tribal parties — Indigenous National Party of Triupura (INPT), IPFT and the National Conference of Tripura (NCT) — jointly called a dawn-to-dusk general strike in Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas on February 8 to oppose the central government’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha last year and now under the scrutiny of a parliamentary committee, seeks to enable Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who have fled to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh without valid travel documents or those whose valid documents have expired in recent years, to acquire Indian citizenship through the process of naturalisation.
Tribals, who constitute a third of Tripura’s 3.7 million population, play a crucial role in the state politics as a third of the 60 assembly seats in the state are reserved for them and one out of two Lok Sabha seats from Tripura is reserved for the tribals.