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Tripura Tribal Parties Hold Rallies To Press Demands For A Separate State

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| August 23 , 2017 , 21:28 IST

Two regional tribal-based parties on Wednesday organised rallies in Tripura to press for their demand for creation of a separate state for the tribals.

The Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) and the Twipraland State Party (TSP) have been agitating in the northeastern state demanding that the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) be upgraded to a separate tribal state.

Amidst unprecedented security, thousands of slogan-shouting tribal men and women under the banner of IPFT held a much-publicised rally at the Council headquarters in Khumulwng, 26 km north of state capital Agartala.

The TTAADC has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura's 10,491 sq km area, which is home to over 12,16,000 people, mostly tribals.

The IPFT is the leading party among the five tribal-based parties in Tripura and has been agitating since 2009 for a separate state. Its membership accounts for a third of the nearly four million population of the state, playing a crucial role in the state politics.

"We have got some positive indications from the central government about our statehood demand. We will continue our agitation until our goal of separate state is achieved," IPFT President Narendra Chandra Debbarma told the media here.

He said: "Like previous years, to highlight our demand for a separate state, we had sought permission from the Tripura government to hold rallies in Agartala but police refused permission. We will not be going away even if the Left Front government tries to scuttle our movement."

The IPFT had blocked the National Highway-8, the lifeline of Tripura, and the lone railway line in the state for more than 10 days from July 10 over this demand, causing acute shortage of essential items and food grains.

After the intervention of the state and central governments, besides Governor Tathagata Roy, the IPFT lifted the blockade on July 20.

Debbarma said after a meeting of the IPFT leaders with central government officials in Delhi and the Governor in Agartala, they were hopeful of positive action on their statehood demand.

"The IPFT rallies were disallowed in Agartala due to fear of breach of peace. Today (Wednesday), the IPFT organised their rallies at TTAADC headquarters in Khumulwng. There is no untoward incident in the event," West Tripura district police chief Abhijit Saptarshi told IANS.

On August 23 last year, the IPFT held rallies, which led to violence injuring 24 civilians and a large number of security personnel. As many as 17 vehicles as well as many shops were vandalised in Agartala by the IPFT members.

The Twipraland State Party (TSP) also organised rallies in Khowai and South Tripura district in support of the same statehood demand.