Tripura HC allows tribal party to hold demonstration

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Agartala, Aug 13 (IANS) In the first major setback for the BJP government in Tripura, the Tripura High Court on Monday, rejecting the state government’s decision, allowed a tribal based party to hold a demonstration here in support of their demands including introduction of the NRC.

One of the oldest tribal based parties — the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) — had sought permission from the police to hold a demonstration in Agartala on June 28, but the police refused to give consent forcing the party to move the High Court, which allowed it to organise the sit-in demonstrations.

“After June 28, we applied to the Tripura Police twice to allow us to hold the demonstration on July 7 and between July 15 and 19. But the state police denied permission citing law and order problems,” INPT President Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawal told the media.

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He said: “After three rejections of permission to hold the demonstration, we sought the Tripura High Court’s intervention in this regard. After four hearings of our petition, the High Court Chief Justice Ajay Rastogi today (Monday) allowed us to hold the demonstrations. We are yet to finalise the fresh date of our agitation.”

Hrangkhawal, along with INPT General Secretary Jagadhish Debbarma, while briefing the media on Monday said that the Chief Justice while giving his verdict told the state government’s lawyer that “government can not hold back the fundamental rights of an organisation and individual”.

“The Chief Justice has referred several judgments of the Supreme Court on the same issues.”

The tribal leaders said they would organise the demonstration within this month in support of their 3-point agenda, including introduction of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Tripura and withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016 to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

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The INPT is also demanding more power to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of the state’s 10,491 sq km area, home to over 12,16,000 people, mostly tribals.

The TTAADC is a constitutional body first set up in 1982 under the seventh schedule of the constitution and later upgraded in 1985 under the sixth schedule of the constitution.

Debbarma said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) alliance government “wanted to destroy democracy in Tripura”.

“For the first time in Tripura, a recognised political party was disallowed to hold a political programme and forced to go to the court to get justice. Democracy was upheld after the decision of the High Court,” he stated.

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–IANS

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