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Ahead of Assembly Polls, Tripura parties step up to empower Tribals

Besides CPI-M, all other opposition political parties have to forge an electoral alliance with either INPT or IPFT to get the tribal reserved seats in the Tripura assembly

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Tribals. Wikimedia
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Agartala, Sept 14, 2016: Seventeen months ahead of crucial assembly polls in Left-ruled Tripura, political parties, especially tribal-based parties, have stepped up their actions to push their demands including for a separate state.

Two tribal-based political parties- Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and Indigenous People’s Front ofTripura (IPFT)- would organise “Delhi Abhiyan” (march to Delhi) to press their demands to the central government.

“A five-member team of IPFT would leave here for New Delhi on Thursday to meet union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram and others to pursue our long pending demands,” IPFT President Narendra Chandra Debbarma said on Wednesday.

He said: “We would apprise the union Home Minister about the August 23 incident in Agartala. The indigenous tribal people are deprived in Tripura. They need more empowerment.”

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IPFT’s acting general secretary Maybe Kumar Jamatia would lead the team for the “Delhi Abhiyan” and submit a memorandum containing their demands to the union ministers.

In the ethnic trouble, at least 24 people, including five policemen, were injured and 17 vehicles badly damaged on August 23 in Agartala after activists of IPFT took out a rally demanding a separate state.

Both the INPT and IPFT have been demanding more power to Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), a constitutional elected body, introduction of inner-line permit in Tripura to protect the tribals, recognition of tribal language – Kokborok – in the 8th Schedule of the Constitutions, reservation of 50 per cent seats for the tribals in the 60-member Tripura assembly.

The IPFT has been agitating for the creation of a separate state, carved out by upgrading the TTAADC area. The TTAADC was formed in 1987 under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to protect and safeguard the political, economic and cultural interests of the tribals.

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The politically important council constitute two-third of Tripura’s 10,491 sq.km area.

The INPT, which opposes the separate state demand, would organise a six-hours sit-in-demonstration in Delhi and meet the central ministers in the first week of December.

“We would highlight our demands during our “New Delhi Abhiyan”. We have taken this decision at our central working committee meeting held here on Tuesday,” INPT spokesman Srota Ranjan Khisa said on Wednesday.

He said that the INPT would organise a mass campaign during the next two months in support of its demands across the state. The INPT would hold a meeting with its four frontal organisation leaders on September 22 to make successful the upcoming party programme.

In Tripura politics, tribals and tribes based political parties play a vital role as 20 seats in the 60-member Tripura assembly are reserved for the tribals, who constitute a third of Tripura’s four million populations.

Political analyst Tapas Dey said that though almost all political parties, including the ruling CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist), CPI (Communist Party of India), opposition Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and Trinamool Congress strongly opposed the IPFT’s separate state demand, the tribal party has gained base among the tribals spearheading the demand.

“Except the CPI-M, all other opposition political parties have to forge an electoral alliance with either INPT or IPFT to get the tribal reserved seats in the Tripura assembly. That’s why the political parties have maintained a close rapport with them and other tribal parties,” Dey told IANS. (IANS)

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.