Tripura tribal party to blockade state’s lifeline on Feb 28 over ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand

Agartala: Tripura’s main opposition party, the Tipra Motha Party (TMP), will block the National Highway 8, the state’s lifeline, on February 28 in protest against the Central government’s “procrastination” in implementing constitutional solutions for the indigenous population, party leaders announced here on Sunday.

The TMP has been demanding ‘Greater Tipraland’ or a separate state for the tribals and the party supremo and former royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman on Saturday threatened to launch for a fast unto death hunger strike soon if the Centre does not accept his party’s demands at the earliest.

TMP President Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl on Sunday said that the blockade on the National Highway 8 would start on February 28 and Deb Barman would also likely to start his hunger strike on the same day.

Hrangkhawl, a former militant leader-turned-politician, while talking to the media, emphasised the party’s frustration with the Central government’s prolonged delay, alleged that the Union government deliberately delaying in addressing the ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution, and fulfilling the constitutional rights of the tribals.

Meanwhile, Deb Barman urgently went to New Delhi on Sunday and he is likely to hold meetings with either Central ministers or Home Ministry officials to further discuss the TMP’s demands.

Deb Barman, who held a series of meeting with the Central government officials, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Tripura counterpart Manik Saha and senior BJP leaders for the past more than one year to fulfil the TMP’s demand, said: “I am ready to die for the cause of the tribals. My only target is to resolve the economic and constitutional problems of the tribals.”

In an audio message, he accused the Central government of depriving the tribals of their Constitutional rights.

After the TMP wrested the power in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) in April 2021, the party intensified their agitation in support of their ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand, which has been strongly opposing by the ruling BJP, opposition CPI-M led Left Front, Congress and Trinamool Congress and other parties.

The TTAADC, which has a jurisdiction on over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq km area, and is home to over 12,16,000 people, of which around 84 per cent are tribals, is, in terms of its political significance, second most important constitutional body after the Tripura Assembly.

Political pundits said that both the TMP and the IPFT, to capitalise the tribal vote bank, raise tribal-centric demands like upgradation of the TTAADC as a separate state for the tribals even though they fully aware that such demand would never be fulfilled.

The TMP, in its maiden electoral battle, fielded 42 candidates, including 20 on tribal reserved seats, in the last year’s Assembly polls, and bagged 13 seats and 19.69 per cent votes as it highlighted its demand for ‘Greater Tipraland State’. After the February 16, 2023, Assembly polls, the TMP became the second single largest party after the BJP and got the main opposition party status in the state.

IANS

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