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IPFT revives call for separate state

- Violence charge on processionists

Agartala, Aug. 24: The Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) revived the demand for a separate state for indigenous communities yesterday during a meeting and procession here.

Gorkha leader Manish Tamang, Telangana leader A. Reddy, Absu president Pramod Boro and Arunachal People’s Party leader J.K. Bira — all votaries for separate states — were present at the Astabal ground. All the leaders lent their support to the IPFT demand for a separate state carved out of the autonomous district council (ADC) areas.

“India can still have 31 more states to fulfil the socio-economic and cultural aspirations of people who need to survive the onslaught of economic exploitation and political marginalisation,” said Tamang.

IPFT president Narendra Debbarma made a case for a separate state citing statistical data. “The ADC areas encompass 68.10 per cent of the state’s geographical area and is home to more than 33 per cent of the total population, where 95 per cent are from indigenous communities. Where is then the objection to converting the ADC area into a separate state?” he asked.

The IPFT president sought to dispel the impression that the new state would be against any community or culture. “A full-fledged state is meant for all. There may be separate land laws for the backward people as in many other states but it can be home to all,” he said.

Party colleague Harinath Debbarma attributed the problems of the indigenous communities to the settlement of non-indigenous people in Tripura.

He said the indigenous people must be allowed to build their future according to their choice.

However, the procession comprising many tribal youths through the streets of Agartala turned unsavoury after two motorists were beaten up when they tried to cross the road near Fire Brigade Chowmuhani around 5pm.

In another incident, the marchers allegedly manhandled two women government employees when they were trying to cross the road at Colonel Chowmuhani. However, the police or TSR jawans on duty allegedly did not take any action.

CPM office secretary Haripada Das condemned the attacks on civilians. “The IPFT is in an existential crisis. So it is trying to whip up tension to gain ground. But it will not be successful as the indigenous people are with the Left Front. We will never allow Tripura to be divided,” he said.