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Lesson from Tripura

The results of the just-concluded election to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) have not only thrown up a huge surprise to the ruling BJP

Tripura

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 April 2021 5:00 AM GMT

The results of the just-concluded election to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) have not only thrown up a huge surprise to the ruling BJP in the Northeastern state surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides, but should also serve as a lesson to learn for the indigenous communities and regional political parties of Assam. TIPRA Motha, a newly-formed tribal-based party of the state headed by Tripura's royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, has swept the election by capturing 18 of the 28 seats. Debbarma, sole heir of the erstwhile 800-year-old Manikya dynasty of Tripura, Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, the "maharaja" of Tripura, who was working president of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee, had resigned from all party posts and the primary membership of the Congress party in September 2019, following which he also ignored several requests from the BJP to join the saffron party. Having declared his intention of standing for the interest The results of the just-concluded election to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) have not only thrown up a huge surprise to the ruling BJP in the Northeastern state surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides, but should also serve as a lesson to learn for the indigenous communities and regional political parties of Assam.f the indigenous tribal communities which have been dangerously marginalised by the immigrants from erstwhile East Pakistan and present-day Bangladesh, Debbarma had floated TIPRA – meaning Tiprasa Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance – which together with Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), a former ally of the Congress, and other like-minded tribal groups and individuals, comprised TIPRA Motha. The victory of TIPRA Motha in the TTADC election, often considered a semifinal for the state Assembly election in Tripura, has brought about new hope for the dangerously marginalised indigenous tribal communities. In fact the marginalisation of the Tripura tribals should be always considered a warning for Assam, where the clout of the immigrants, particularly the immigrant Muslims, has been increasing day by day, causing a potential threat to the indigenous communities of this state. In Tripura, it were the immigrant Hindu Bengalis who have reduced the indigenous tribals into a minority. While over 52 per cent of Tripura's population in 1901 were tribals, it came down to 50.09 in 1941 and dangerously dipped to 28.44 in 1981. The only ray of hope is that in 2011, the percentage of tribal population in Tripura rose to 31.8 per cent, for which however no one has been able to give any explanation. Given this situation, the indigenous tribal people of Tripura do not have any political or economic clout in their own homeland. If the infiltration situation in Assam is allowed to continue, and if a correct NRC is not prepared and the infiltrators are not detected, identified and deported, it is only a matter of time that they will outnumber the Assamese and other indigenous communities of Assam. While many factors are responsible for the Assam situation, there is no second opinion that the Congress was the most responsible for it. It is no fiction that Nehru, as Prime Minister of India had threatened Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi, Bishnuram Medhi and Bimala Prasad Chaliha for trying to detect and expel from Assam the infiltrators from erstwhile East Pakistan. The same Congress, which was in power when lakhs of people had come to Assam as refugees during the civil war in East Pakistan and the Bangladesh liberation movement in 1969-71, had miserably failed to ensure that all the refugees were sent back home. One great Congress president had ridiculed the Assamese and indigenous communities and said that the Congress was safe in Assam as long as the "Ali, Coolie and Bengali" people continued to vote for it. In the just-concluded Assam Assembly election, the Congress party forged an alliance with a political party which was formed to protect the interests of the immigrants in the backdrop of the Supreme Court scrapping the notorious IMDT Act in 2006. On the other hand, while AASU had constituted the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) to protect the interests of the Assamese people, leaders of this regional party – all, including Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Brindaban Goswami, Atul Bora (Jr) and Keshab Mahanta – have miserably failed to understand what regionalism and protection of interests of the indigenous people actually means. The BJP, despite being a 'nationalist' party vowing to protect Indian culture, too has failed to understand the gravity of the Assam situation. That it failed to ensure preparation of a flawless NRC, and that it failed to expel even one illegal migrant, is enough to prove this. The intellectuals of Assam have also failed to gauge the gravity of the situation. Maybe, they will now try to understand something from the TIPRA Motha victory in Tripura and wake up from their slumber.

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