Tripura parties oppose demand for separate state by tribals

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Agartala, June 16 (IANS) Tripura’s ruling CPI-M on Friday accused the BJP of “instigating” a tribal party to hold a rail and road blockade from July 10 to seek a separate state, a charge the BJP denied and said it too was opposed to the demand.

The Congress and the Trinamool Congress too expressed their opposition to the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura’s (IPFT) demand for a new state, which it wants to be carved out of areas falling under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).

The tribal party plans to block National Highway-8 and the lone railway line to the north-eastern state for an indefinite period to put pressure on Tripura’s Left Front government before the February 2018 assembly polls.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party is instigating the IPFT for rail and road blockade to create havoc to gain political mileage before the Tripura assembly elections,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) State Secretary Bijan Dhar said.

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Dhar said that before the March 2017 Manipur assembly elections also, the BJP had egged on the United Naga Council to block a vital National Highway in order to dislodge the then Congress government from that state.

“Within 48 hours of assumption of office by a BJP government in Manipur, the road blockade that stretched for several months was called off,” he said.

Countering it, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit President Biplab Kumar Deb said: “The CPI-M’s allegation is totally false and concocted. The BJP never supports the division of Tripura. The Left Front can take legal and administrative action against anyone trying to create trouble and disturb the peace.”

He said the BJP wanted the Left Front government to call an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.

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Congress Tripura unit President Birajit Sinha said his party too did not support the IPFT demand. “We do not support the blockade plan of IPFT. If they organise any democratic movement to protect tribals’ interests, the Congress can support them,” Sinha told IANS.

Trinamool Congress’s Tripura unit President Ashish Saha said his party was also opposed to the separate state demand.

The TTAADC is an elected body formed in 1987 under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to safeguard the political, economic and cultural interests of the tribals.

The council covers two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 square km area. As many as 1,216,465 (mostly tribals) of the state’s 37 lakh people reside in these TTAADC areas.



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