Tripura rebels want act repealed

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  • Published 11.02.07

Agartala, Feb. 11: After Manipur, the protest tide has now hit Tripura. Describing the Disturbed Areas Act as “persecution of the sons of the soil by a government of refugees”, the Tripura Peoples’ Democratic Front, political wing of the banned All Tripura Tiger Force, has called for rallies and processions in tribal-dominated areas on February 16 to protest against the continuing enforcement of the act.

Urging tribals to participate in the protest programmes, a press release of the Front mailed to mediapersons said the state government had unilaterally enforced the Disturbed Areas Act in tribal-dominated areas of Tripura on February 16, 1997 to persecute the tribal people.

“The ill-motivated government needed a legal shield to cover its anti-tribal activities and that is why the act was imposed and is still in force,” said the Front’s president, Ranjit Debbarma, who is also the supreme commander of the banned All Tripura Tiger Force.

Debbarma alleged that the act was being misused by police, Tripura State Rifles jawans and the state government. He said during the past decade innocent tribal youths, including school students, have been shot dead without any provocation by security forces to suppress the struggle of the oppressed tribals for self-determination.

“This draconian act has served only the parochial vindictiveness of the state government and the tribal people must rise in protest against it,” said Ranjit Debbarma.

He also used the statement to enthuse his supporters and the rank and file, depleted by a spate of surrenders over the past two years. “Our struggle will continue until the usurper government is ousted from power and the basic constitutional rights of the tribal people are established,” Ranjit asserted.

He also issued a clarion call to tribal youths to join the Front’s “liberation struggle” and asserted that his group would soon launch a fresh offensive against the state government.

Official sources here dismissed the Front’s statement as “full of fire and brimstone signifying nothing” and said after severe depletion of strength, the Tiger Force chief was left with no other alternative but to make “high-sounding noise”.

Describing the Tiger Force and its political wing as “communally-motivated outfits”, sources said the state government and security forces were prepared to deal with them.