Tripura parties to rally in Delhi for empowering tribals
Agartala, Jan 17 (IANS) One year ahead of the assembly election in Left-ruled Tripura, tribal-based parties have stepped up their activities to push their demands — including for a separate state.
Two tribal-based political parties — Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) – would organise “Delhi Abhiyan” (march to Delhi) to press their demands to the central government.
“A six-hour-long sit-in-demonstration would be organised by INPT leaders and members at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on February 21 in support of their eight-point charter of demands,” INPT spokesman Srota Ranjan Khisa told IANS on Tuesday.
Their demands include, more power to Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), a constitutional elected body, promulgation of inner-line permit regulation to protect indigenous tribals and recognition of tribal language — Kokborok — in the 8th Schedule of the Constitutions, reservation of 50 per cent seats for the tribals in the 60-member Tripura assembly.
The IPFT for the past few years has been agitating for the creation of a separate state, carved out by upgrading the TTAADC area. The TTAADC was formed in 1987 under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to protect and safeguard the political, economic and cultural interests of the tribals.
The politically-important council constitutes two third of Tripura’s 10,491 sq.km area.
“We would also organise three-day sit-in demonstration in Delhi from February 28. We have sought permission from the Delhi Police to hold the demonstration but are yet to get consent,” IPFT President Narendra Chandra Debbarma told IANS.
Both the tribal parties, during their agitations in Delhi, would meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to push their demands.
The INPT, which has an electoral alliance with the opposition Congress earlier, opposed the separate state demand.
The INPT, IPFT and National Conference of Tripura (NCT) on Sunday formed the All Tripura Indigenous Regional Parties Forum and called for a 12-hour shutdown on February 8 to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, introduced by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance in parliament last year.
Tribals play a crucial role in politics in ethnically mixed Tripura as one-third of the 60 assembly seats in the state are reserved for them and one of the two Lok Sabha seats is also reserved.
Political analyst Tapas Dey said that though almost all political parties, including the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of India, the opposition Congress, the BJP and Trinamool Congress strongly opposed the IPFT’s separate state demand, the tribal party has gained base among the tribals spearheading the demand.
“Except the CPI-M, all other opposition political parties have to forge electoral alliance with either INPT or IPFT to get the tribal reserved seats in the Tripura assembly. That’s why the political parties have maintained a close rapport with them and other tribal parties,” Dey told IANS.
The IPFT’s demand was rejected by almost all political parties, including the CPI-M.
“Outlawed terrorist’s sovereign state demand is equivalent to IPFT’s separate state demand. The demands raised by those forces who are enemies of tribal-non-tribal unity and development in Tripura,” veteran CPI-M tribal leader Narayan Rupini said while addressing a public meeting in Ampi in southern Tripura.
“IPFT’s demands would activate the activities of the underground militants who destroy the peace in Tripura for several years,” added Rupini, former chief of TTAADC.