The Khumulwng Academy Grounds in the Tripura Tribal Area Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) headquarters saw a sea of protesters as all were voicing the slogan ‘Bharat Sarkar Hamare Mange Pura Karo’, ‘No Tipraland, No Rest’ on Thursday. The day is being observed as the 10th Tipraland Demand Day by the state’s ruling ally Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT). The protest showed a huge gathering of at least ten thousand supporters.
The IPFT took birth in 1997 with the objective of self-determination of indigenous communities and demanded a separate state for them. Later the party merged with Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) and came up with a slogan of ‘Tipraland’ in 2009. The party demands for a separate state for indigenous communities living in Tripura.
The noted political leaders to join the protesters, apart from IPFT president and Tripura Revenue Minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma and Minister for Tribal Welfare Mevar Kumar Jamatia are Assam Agriculture Minister and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) President Atul Bora, Peoples’ Joint Action Committee for Boroland Movement (PJACBM) Chief Convener Rakesh Bora, National Democratic Front of Boroland – Peace (NDFBP) General Secretary Gobinda Basumatary, All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) leader Lawrence Islary, National Federation of New States (NFNS) Working President SG Sanyal and others.
The IPFT claims to have played a key role in replacing the CPI (M)-led Left Front with the BJP-IPFT combined party. It says that it is only because the indigenous people single-handedly voted for BJP that the party could come in power dethroning the former party that ruled Tripura for the last 25 years since 1993.
IPFT president NC Debbarma said that their struggle for ‘Tipraland’ will be a non-stop struggle despite them joining the state government in Tripura with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He added that the ruling government must listen to the demands of the indigenous people as it is these people who brought them into power putting an end 25 years of left misrule.
IPFT general secretary and tribal welfare minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia said, “One needs land, rods, bricks, sand, cement and other materials to build a building. Similarly, for Tipraland, we need to go through a step-by-step process. We want Tipraland to be formed with the land area under the ADC and we are now a recognized state party. We have much more supporters and shall continue our struggle for statehood.”