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Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT)defer agitation on statehood

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By Bhupen Goswami

Guwahati : Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT)defer agitation on statehood.Ruling BJP’s ally the IPFT has postponed its Wednesday’s shutdown in Tripura following a meeting with Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, an Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) spokesman said here on Wednesday.They will, however, go ahead with a proposed sit-in-demonstration in Delhi next week to press for its decade-old demand for separate state for the tribals, introduction of NRC in Tripura, he added. “After a high level meeting between Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma and our top party leaders the strike was postponed last night (Tuesday),” IPFT spokesman and Assistant General Secretary Mangal Debbarma told IANS. The party delegation was led by Revenue Minister and IPFT President Narendra Chandra Debbarma. “However, we are firm to hold a sit-in demonstration in Delhi next week and submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh highlighting the party’s demands,” Debbarma said. The IPFT, a tribal based party, as part of its agitations earlier announced to observe a 12-hour shutdown in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas on Wednesday. The IPFT and its seven frontal organisations had called for the strike in the TTAADC areas in support of the party’s long pending demands. The other IPFT demands include introduction of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Tripura, withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, introduction of inner-line permit in the TTAADC areas and inclusion of tribals’ Kokborok language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. The IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for a separate state to be carved out by upgrading the TTAADC, which has a jurisdiction over two-thirds of the state’s 10,491 sqkm area, home to over 12,16,000 people. In the nine-member council of ministry, headed by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, there are two IPFT ministers — Debbarma and Tribal Welfare and Forest Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia (General Secretary). Meanwhile, another tribal based party — Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) — has also called a road and rail blockade in Tripura on December 10 on almost the same issues. The state’s oldest tribal-based political party, INPT, as well as the ruling BJP, opposition Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Front have, however, been opposed to IPFT’s separate statehood demand.

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