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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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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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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

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“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

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A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

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The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)