Tripura road, rail blockade called-off

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Agartala, July 20 (IANS) A Tripura tribal party demanding a separate state on Thursday called-off a blockade of the state’s key national highway and the lone railway line, officials said here.

The blockade was called by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) on July 10 that led to serious shortage of essential items, including food grain.

“The blockade was withdrawn this morning without any major trouble. Although we were fully ready to evict the IPFT people, we did not use force as they called-off the blockade on their own,” West District Police Chief Abhijit Saptarshi told IANS from the Khamtingbari blockade site, 35 km north of here.

Saptarshi said that they are arranging some buses to ferry the IPFT members including women to their villages in different districts.

IPFT President Narendra Chandra Debbarma while announcing the withdrawal, said the central government is expected to hold a meeting with party leaders next week to discuss about their demand.

“Governor Tathagata Roy communicated our demand to the central government. We have advanced one step to achieve the separate state for the tribals. We have to go a long way to achieve the desire goal,” Debbarma said.

The IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for a separate state to be carved out by upgrading the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq.km area, home to over 12,16,000 people, mostly tribals.

Most political parties, including the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist, Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the other tribal parties including Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura have rejected the IPFT’s demand, saying it was not practical to divide the small state.

–IANS

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