Agartala: Thousands of tribals on Thursday blocked Tripura’s main National Highway and lone railway line to protest the Citizenship Amendment Bill cutting off the northeastern state from the remaining part of the country.
The 12-hour (since 6 a.m.) National Highway and solitary railway line blockade was organised at Sadhupara in West Tripura district by the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), Tripura’s oldest tribal based party, demanding not to introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Parliament.
West Tripura District police chief Manik Lal Das said that huge contingent of Central Reserve Police Force, Tripura State Rifles and police were deployed in the mountainous areas to deal with any eventuality.
“The situation was normal and under control. We are negotiating with the picketers and their leaders to withdraw the blockade to normalise the road and rail traffic,” Das told IANS over phone from the blockade sites, 35 km north of Agartala.
INPT general secretary Jagadhish Debbarma said that they in no way allow executing the amended citizenship law in Tripura and other parts of the northeast India.
“We urge upon the central government not to introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Parliament and the proposed law would destabilize the demographic structure of the northeast and jeopardize the stability, life and culture of the indigenous people of the region,” Debbarma, a veteran tribal leader, told the media.
Except, Bharatiya Janata Party, all national, regional and local parties including BJP’s allies are strongly opposing the redrafted Citizenship Amendment Bill.
The Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), the junior partner of the ruling BJP in Tripura, held a seven-hour long demonstration in Jantar Mantar in Delhi on December 2 to protest against the CAB and also to press for it’s demand for a separate State for the indigenous tribals.
A delegation of IPFT, led by General Secretary and Tripura Forest and Tribal Welfare Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia, also met several central ministers to push their demands. Another local tribal based party, the Twipraland State Party, observed a 12-hour shutdown in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas on December 2 on the same issue.
The CAB seeks to fast track giving Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians and Jains from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who entered India till December 31, 2014. (IANS)