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Tripura parties threaten agitations for tribal State

By The Assam Tribune

Agartala, July 31 (IANS): Two regional parties on Monday warned of agitations in support of their demand for a separate State for tribals in Tripura.

"To highlight our demand for a separate State, we had sought permission from the Tripura government to hold rallies on August 23 in Agartala but police refused permission," IPFT president Narendra Chandra Debbarma told the media here.

"We have now decided to request the Director General of Police to review the decision or we will resume our agitation," he said.

The Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal party, 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.

After the intervention of the State and Central governments, besides Governor Tathagata Roy, the IPFT withdrew the blockade on July 20.

Debbarma said after a meeting of 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 due to fear of breach of peace, West District police chief Abhijit Saptarshi told IANS.

On August 23 last year, the IPFT held rallies, which led to violence. As many as 17 vehicles as well as shops were vandalised in Agartala.

Another tribal party, Twipraland State Party (TSP), also threatened to launch an agitation over the statehood demand.

"We will organise rallies in all 23 sub-divisions of Tripura on August 23 to demand upgradation of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council to a separate tribal State," TSP president Chitta Ranjan Debbarma said.

Both IPFT and TSP are recognised by the Election Commission.

The IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for a separate State. The council has jurisdiction over two third of Tripura's 10,491 sq km area which is home to over 12,16,000 persons, mostly tribals.

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