Normal life was paralysed in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) area on Thursday in response to a 24-hours bandh called by Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), an ally of the ruling BJP in the state.
The TTAADC constitute two-third of Tripura’s territory and is home to indigenous people, who form one-third of the state’s estimated 40 lakh population.
The bandh was called by IPFT to press for its five-point charter of demands, which include the formation of a separate ‘Tipraland’, implementation of the report of a high power modality committee, empowerment of the district council and inclusion of Kokborok, the lingua franca of the tribals in the 8th schedule of the Constitution with the Roman script and filling up of vacant posts for scheduled tribes.
Vehicles did not ply on the roads and government offices and financial institutions, including banks, were closed in the tribal council area.
The shutters of the shops were downed and markets remained closed.
Northeast Frontier Railway had cancelled all passenger trains in the state given the bandh.
Additional Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Subrata Chakraborty said the bandh was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported.
“We have arrested more than 600 workers and supporters of the IPFT, which held demonstrations in around 80 locations," he said.
IPFT assistant general secretary Mangal Debbarma said that the party will intensify its protest if the government did not meet the demands.
“The government gave us so many assurances before coming to power, but so far nothing has been done," he told newsmen.
A high-level modality committee was formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs just before the state assembly election in February 2018 to find out how the tribal council areas could be developed. It was to submit its report within two months.
The report is yet to be published, he said.
Debbarma said that a delegation of IPFT led by the general secretary of the party Mevar Kumar Jamatia, who is also the state forest and tribal welfare minister, MLAs Brishketu Debbarma, Dhananjay Tripura, Sindhu Chandra Jamatia and Prasant Debbarma left for New Delhi on Wednesday to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda to discuss the demands.
The IPFT had forged an alliance with BJP in 2018 and the two parties had together won 44 seats of the total 60 seats of the assembly and formed a coalition government ending 25 years of Left Front rule.
IPFT was formed in the 1990s to form Tipraland, a separate state for tribal communities of Tripura.
Reference: The Northeast Today
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