Syed Sajjad Ali
The Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal based party in Tripura, has staged a huge rally in Agartala on Friday pressing demand for a separate state. The party has threatened vigorous agitations to achieve ‘Twipra-land’ with areas under tribal autonomous district council to protect the rights and identity of Tripura’s 32 per cent tribal population.
Ruling CPI(M) and main opposition Congress slammed the IPFT for trying to fan unrest in the State where ‘peace has returned after two decade long insurgency and ethnic turmoil’. Even Chief Minister Manik Sarkar criticised the separatist demand.
IPFT which is known as a hardliner party and often blamed for its alleged soft stance on extremist movements is clearly trying to woo the tribal society after years of political isolation. The party or its rival, Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), an ally of Congress, hitherto failed to put any challenge to CPI(M) in tribal areas.
IPFT leaders conceded that the decision of the central government to create Telangana state has rejuvenated them as well as other groups in the country engaged in stirs for separate states. “We are not pushing for any irrelevant or unconstitutional demand; our state demand is lawful”, party president Narendra Chandra Debbarma said.
Mr Debbarma in his address at the rally attended by thousands of tribals, mainly youths, warned that the party would continue to strive for a separate state with areas of the tribal autonomous district council. He started, “its important to protect state’s minority tribals and preserve our identify” and added “all programmes would be peaceful”.
Leaders of other state demand movements like Gorkhaland spoke at the rally preceded after a long procession in the city. Taking cue of Bodoland agitation in Assam, many tribal youths had their chest written with slogans in support of state demand.
Chairman of the National Federation of New States, Ramkrishna Deb Tamur, was present at the programme which attained many political and social ramifications. The autonomous district council was constituted under sixth schedule of the constitution with three fourth of total area of Tripura having less than four million population.