Joint anti-BJP body floated to uplift NE’s indigenous people

The Tripura Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) and the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) on Tuesday held a joint conference in Guwahati to announce efforts to form an anti-BJP joint platform of regional parties in the northeastern region for all-round development of indigenous people.

In a joint statement after the conference, the TIPRA, led by erstwhile Tripuraruling family member Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman and the AJP, headed by Lurinjyoti Gogoi, said that the indigenous people of the northeastern states have been facing betrayal and deceit since long.

The two regional parties, they said, have decided to take the initiative to form a united forum of all political parties of the northeast.

Initially, the two parties would continue to hold various campaign highlighting five demands including repeal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), updation of National Register of Citizens (NRC), constitutional provisions for protection of identity and culture of the all indigenous people, the acceptance of Tipraland/Greater Tripraland, and implementation of the Assam Accord in totality.

It said that the people of northeast are realising and “even paying off for the consequences occurred due to the BJP’s aggressive agenda in order to strengthen their foothold in the northeast”.

“As a part of the BJP’s divisive and communal politics, they are trying to implement their concept of ‘Hindutva’ which is different from the as old traditions of Hinduism based on love and compassion. As a result, many ethnic traditions and languages have become either extinct or endangered.”

It said that the governments led by BJP at the centre and few states of the northeast have been trying to ignore the voices of the indigenous communities of the region to fulfil their narrow political ends.

Criticising the Congress, at the conference at the famous Srimanta Sankardev Kalakhetra in Guwahati, Deb Barman said that due to influx of illegal foreigners from erstwhile East Bengal (now Bangladesh), the Tripuri (tribals) population of Tripura has become minority in the state.

“As a result, the language of the Tripuri people, Kokborok has also become out of place in the state. Similarly, illegal influx has also affected Assam in a big way and due to this, the Assamese speaking population has also gone down to a great extent. In spite of this, the decision of implementation of the CAA in Assam by the NDA has thrown Assam into great crisis,” he said.

Deb Barman, who was the state President of the Congress in Tripura and is known to be a close friend of Rahul Gandhi, had quit the party in 2019 over the CAA issue, said that the Congress was instrumental in signing the historic Assam Accord, Mizo Peace Accord and TNV accord in Tripura, but the party weakened in the region because of “balancing politics, instead of a clear vision”.

AJP General Secretary Jagadish Bhuyan said that Tuesday was an “amazing experience full of energy and heralds a new dawn for northeast India”. “This is for our dignity and identity. Our identity is what we strive for, dignity is what we live for,” he tweeted.

With Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Sarma as convener, the BJP-led, anti-Congress North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) was formed few years back and the ruling parties of most northeastern states including Meghalaya’s National People’s Party and Mizoram’s Mizo National Front are its members.