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Home ministry advisor meets Tripura CM, talks with TIPRA Motha likely tomorrow | India News

AK Mishra, the Ministry of Home Affairs advisor on Northeast affairs, arrived in Agartala and met Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha on Monday, ahead of crucial talks with the Opposition TIPRA Motha and other stakeholders on their grievances and demands.

“We had detailed discussions over issues of tribals’ development with the MHA advisor on Northeast affairs, AK Mishra. I apprised him of all the issues here including our development initiatives related to roads, connectivity, schools, colleges and budgetary allocations for other development initiatives,” Saha said.

Asked if the discussions involved the tribals’ demand for a separate state, the BJP leader replied in the negative.

Saha also said he requested Mishra to meet tribal clan leaders or samajpatis, tribal frontal wings of political parties including the BJP’s Janajati Morcha, and tribal student organisations that the latter had agreed to do so.

Saha said his government was hopeful of tribal-non tribal coexistence in the state in future. “Development is our main agenda. We want tribals and non-tribals to peacefully live with each other here. If there are any issues, we will discuss and resolve them,” he added.

Separate state demand

Festive offer

As per sources, discussions on the deprivation of tribals and their demand for a separate Greater Tipraland state within Tripura are expected to take place on Tuesday.

Sources in TIPRA Motha, which has been demanding a constitutional solution for the tribals, said that a 15-member delegation led by the party’s founder, Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, would meet the visiting MHA advisor.

Motha has held several meetings with Mishra in New Delhi, as have leaders of the BJP ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, headmen of different tribal clans and forums of former insurgents. But the BJP had earlier denied any knowledge of the party-led central government appointing any interlocutor to talk to Motha and other stakeholders.

In September, Motha leaders met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi. While Tuesday’s meeting with Mishra is a follow-up to the previous meetings, a final discussion is likely before the MHA advisor submits his report to the central government.

Former insurgents’ demands

The Tripura United Indigenous Peoples Council, whose representatives met Mishra in New Delhi five days ago, said it had put forth a host of demands including housing, vocational training, livelihood support, electrification and the setting up of model villages where former insurgents are living now. The council is an umbrella body of 48 former insurgent outfits.

Ranjit Debbarma, who was once the dreaded insurgent and supremo of the now-defunct All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), said, “We met AK Mishra-ji in Delhi on November 22 and submitted a memorandum. We highlighted different problems faced by the returnees. He assured he would look into the problems. We hope to meet Chief Minister Manik Saha and Governor Indrasena Reddy Nallu soon.”

Debbarma said the demands included recognition of former insurgents who had surrendered before the Army, BSF, CRPF and Assam Rifles. He said the official number of such former insurgents was around 600-700 and that a “genuine list” was being prepared.

He said the peace agreement signed in 1993 between the central government and the ATTF, which facilitated the surrender of most of the outfit’s insurgents, had still not been implemented in its entirety. Conditions in peace accords signed between the government and different insurgent outfits that laid down arms en masse in 1988 were also not fulfilled, he added.

Debbarma is now a TIPRA Motha MLA, while Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl, who was the supremo of the Tripura National Volunteers, another insurgent group, is the president of the party.

The ATTF was founded on July 11, 1990, as the All Tripura Tribal Force by a group of former TNV insurgents who were trying to regroup after their leaders struck a peace accord with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988. The outfit rechristened itself as the ATTF sometime in 1992.

After a few years of extensive violence, 1,600 cadres of the outfit laid down arms, accepting an amnesty scheme offered by the state government in 1993 under the ATTF Accord. But a group of ATTF cadres who did not surrender tried to stay active under Debbarma till he was arrested in Bangladesh in 2012.

The tribal armed insurgency, which swelled between 1980 and the late 2000s, largely came down during the erstwhile Left Front government’s rule as lucrative offers such as an instant grant of Rs 1.5 lakh and vocational training for 36 months with a Rs 2,000 stipend, coupled with counter-insurgency operations, were helpful.


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