Tripura tribals` party to protest for separate state

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 16:05

Agartala: Motivated by the centre`s decision to create Telangana, a tribal-based political party here Tuesday announced an agitation from Nov 11 to demand a separate state by upgrading the Tribal Autonomous District Council.

"We would organise a 72-hours hunger strike here from Nov 11. After that our leaders and members would go to New Delhi to launch an indefinite hunger strike there Dec 10," Budhu Debbarma, Indigenous People`s Front of Tripura`s vice-president told reporters.

The Indigenous People`s Front of Tripura had organised a rally here Aug 23 and submitted a memorandum to Tripura Governor Devanand Konwar in support of their demand.

Debbarma said they want the Tribal Autonomous District Council to be upgraded and a new separate state be formed out of Tripura.

The tribal council, which has been playing a key role for the socio-economic development of tribals, has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura`s geographical area of 10,491.69 sq km. It was set up in 1985.

Tribals constitute a third of Tripura`s 3.7 million people.

The Indigenous People`s Front of Tripura, which first raised the demand for a separate state several years ago, has so far failed to garner support even from within the indigenous tribal people.

The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in Tripura, the main opposition Congress and its electoral ally Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura - also a tribal-based party - strongly oppose their separate statehood demand.

"We are now carrying out awareness and mass contact programmes among the across the state to press for the demand for a separate state. Leaders of such movements seeking a separate state from other parts of the country are supporting our demand," a party leader said.

He accused the Left Front government of creating a "lame-duck institution", having no real powers to ensure the development of backward indigenous people.

"The fundamental problems of the people have not been solved. Tribals continue to lose their lands. Even the state of Kokborok language of the indigenous tribal people is miserable," Debbarma said.

He said that the tribals were once a majority in Tripura and have been living in the state for more than 5,000 years, but their situation is now endangered.

CPI-M spokesman and senior party leader Gautam Das said : "A small state like Tripura cannot be divided further. They are merely trying to regain relevance in state politics by raising such an impractical demand."

Congress leader Tapas Dey said that Tripura is one of the smallest states in India and cannot be divided further. "The socio-economic condition of tribals can be upgraded without forming a new state and if there is a political will of the rulers and tribals extends supports," he added.

IANS

First Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 16:05

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