Agartala: Tripura’s influential tribal-based party — Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA), which organised a two-day sit-in demonstrations at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, on Tuesday December 6 demanded elevation of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTADC) into “Greater Tipraland State”.
The tribal based party submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding upgradation of the TTAADC to a “Greater Tipraland State” under article 2 and 3 of the Constitution for the protection of demography and rights of the tribals.
Tribals constitute one-third of Tripura’s four million population.
The TIPRA led by party supremo and former royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman spearheading the agitations for ‘Greater Tipraland’ since last year, when the party wrested the power of the TTAADC defeating the BJP, CPI-M and the Congress.
Winning of the 30-member TTAADC by the TIPRA was a great significance for Tripura politics as the autonomous council has jurisdiction over two-third of Tripura’s 10,491 sq. km. area and is home to over 12,16,000 people, of which around 84 per cent are tribals, making the autonomous council as a mini-assembly in Tripura after the 60-member Tripura Assembly.
The TIPRA in its memorandum to Prime Minister said that within three years after the erstwhile princely state Tripura merged with the Indian union in October 1949, the indigenous tribals were reduced in to minority and the influx of refugees continued till the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.
“As the most parts of the India-Bangladesh border with Tripura (856 km) are porous, the influx from Bangladesh still continued even today. The indigenous people are getting reduced to a minority every single day… it is the question of survival and existence.”
The TIPRA in its memorandum said that one of the most important royal laws — the reservation of land Act made by then king Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya with a massive area for the indigenous people of Tripura in 1931 and 1943.
“In order to rehabilitate the refugees in Tripura state, the reservation of land was repealed in 1974 by the state government, violating government of India assurance. The indigenous people have not only been further reduced to minority but had also been dislodged from the rights on the reserved land made for them by the Maharaja,” the tribal based party said.
Around 1,500 tribals from Tripura, including a large number of women, held the two-day sit-in demonstrations at Jantar Mantar in the national capital to intensify their demand for greater autonomy for the tribals with Constitutional recognition.
TIPRA chief Deb Barman told IANS said that they would continue to organise various programmes and peaceful agitations in support of their demand.
TIPRA, locally known as Tipra Motha, has been very vocal against all the parties specially the ruling BJP in terms of the overall development of the tribals.
Months ahead of the Assembly polls in Tripura, TIPRA held a mega rally in Agartala on November 12 rocking the state politics.
The TTAADC, constituted in 1985 under the sixth schedule of the constitution has legislative and executive powers and covers nearly 20 of the 60 assembly constituencies in Tripura.
Political pundits predict that TIPRA would play a crucial role in the Assembly elections in Tripura, expected to be held in February next year.