WITH an eye on the Tripura Assembly election slated for early next year, parochial forces such as IPFT, an open political wing of the outlawed NLFT, have declared a destructive movement of indefinite blockade of the lone national highway and railway in the state from July 10 on the so-called demand of a separate state to be carved out of the existing Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC). The demand is in line with the slogan of an ‘independent state’ mooted by the secessionist NLFT. This is a heinous conspiracy plotted by the IPFT in league with the ruling BJP at the Centre, aiming to destabilise the state, stall the developmental works, and to break the traditional tribal and non-tribal harmonious relation, CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar told a press conference on June 14. He has called upon the peace-loving, democratic-minded people of Tripura to foil this move of the IPFT. CPI(M) Central Committee member Gautam Das was also present in the press meet.
Explaining the consequences of this provocative indefinite blockade movement, Dhar said that if this atrocious movement is allowed to roll on, supply of many essential goods including rice and oil would be stopped, leading to an artificial crisis. Practically the state, which is already isolated, would not only remain cut-off from the rest of the country, the conveyance within the state will also be seriously disrupted. More importantly, this is an evil drive to create fissure in the age-old ethnic harmony and friendship between the tribal and non-tribal populations, which is exceptional in the northeastern region and other parts of the country. This is nothing but mockery in the name of a movement, to gain political dividend before the Assembly election next year, Dhar said. If the separate state demand is conceded, it would be tantamount to axing on one’s own leg, he said.
Exposing the complicity of the BJP’s top leaders with this destructive movement call, Das said the IPFT was now a divided house. It was divided on the question of a lump sum amount of bribe in cash taken by IPFT leader N C Debbarma from the BJP. The purpose of this bribe was not yet known. Everybody knows, recently a group of IPFT leaders led by Debbarma went to Delhi. They met Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh on May 17. They might have also met with national leaders of the BJP in Delhi. Conspicuously, after returning from Delhi, they declared the programme of an indefinite road and rail blockade in the state. It is unbelievable that the prime minister and the BJP’s national leaders are unaware of this road blockade call of the IPFT. The BJP, on the other hand, does not overtly announce their stand on the IPFT’s demand for separate state and the road blockade movement. It is unfortunate that, being a ruling party in the country, the BJP is patronising the IPFT in carrying out such a destructive movement, Dhar said and demanded that all political parties make their position clear about the demand of a separate state.
Das said that a secret parley was held between NLFT’s new leader Subir Debbarma and INPT leader and erstwhile TNV supremo Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl in Guwahati on May 1. The meeting was arranged by BJP MP from Assam Biswajit Daimari. Is the purpose of this secret meeting to again activate the diminished NLFT extremists against the Left Front in the next election? he asked.
Das reminded the people said of a similar road blockade movement unleashed by the United Naga Council (UNC) prior to the recent Manipur Assembly election. The UNC carried on the road blockade movement on national highway demanding a separate district for Naga inhabited areas in October 2015. Eleven people belonging to Paite community were killed in police firing. The UNC forced to preserve the bodies in morgue and denied cremation of the bodies and continued road blockade till election. The erstwhile Congress government offered Rs 10 lakh and a government job to each of the victim families on compassionate ground and requested the UNC leaders to withdraw the blockade. But this proposal was outright rejected by the Naga leaders. The objective of the Naga leaders became clear to the people when immediately after formation of the BJP government with a cooked-up majority purchasing opposition members, the Naga leaders withdrew the blockade on verbal assurances of the BJP leaders and that too on cash offer of Rs 5 lakh, instead of Rs 10 lakh offered earlier.
Regarding the so-called separate state demand of the IPFT, Dhar said this demand had been rejected by the people including the tribal populace time and again in the state. The IPFT has been fighting election with their main poll plank of a ‘separate state’ since the 2005 ADC election. Since then there were three general elections of the TTAADC where the Left Front with its ally NSPT won all the 28 seats in 2005 and in the subsequent elections in 2010 and 2015, no other parties except the Left Front could be able to win any seat in the TTAADC. These electoral mandates were the reflections of broad acceptance of the peace appeal of the Left Front government for accomplishing development and ethnic harmony and rejection of separatist demand. However, the IPFT leaders did not take lessons from these popular verdicts, Dhar said.
Referring to the two provocative attacks within a week carried out by the BJP, one on the TU offices at Dharmanagar and the other on the students seeking admission in Teliamura College, Dhar said that though sensible people protested against such rampant goondasim, we strongly condemn these violent attacks by the BJP and call upon the people to resist such move.
The BJP’s machinations should be stalled in Tripura which is a different soil that is acid-tested by sacrifices against the armed insurgent outfits such as TNV, ATTF and NLFT who were fighting for ‘Independent Tripura’ in one hand and the ‘Amara Bangal’, a Bengali chauvinist force battling for converting Tripura into a ‘Bangalistan’ on the other, Dhar said