Tipra Motha Women wing workers protest in Agartala on June 24

Movement for the Roman script of Kokborok (tribal dialect) has turned volatile after leader of the opposition in Tripura, Animesh Debbarma on June 25 threatened that the BJP-led government in the state would collapse like a pack of cards unless their demand is fulfilled.

He was speaking in reference to the deputation of TIPRA Women Federation (TWF) to governor Satyadeo Narain Arya demanding Roman script for Kokborok language on June 23. The deputation was a follow-up of TIPRA Motha students’ wing TSF’s demonstration a week ago.

The police had then baton charged the demonstrators leaving several of them injured.

“TIPRA Motha has become antagonistic to the BJP government, particularly over its demand for a Roman script, and we shall organise state-wide agitation to press for our demands, which will lead to the government’s collapse. If required, over a lakh woman would march to the Civil Secretariat to achieve the demand,” Debbarm, a senior TIPRA Motha leader, stated.

Debbarma alleged that the demand for Roman script for Kokborok is a long pending one and asked why the government is denying their rights to the language.

“When we ask for a Roman script, we are told to either use Bengali script or the Devanagari. Why Devanagari if we ask, the answer is that this is the script of the Devas. Then what is the use of Bengali script. Replace all scripts with Devanagari if it is so pious,” he said.

Alleging that Tiprasa people have been deprived of their legitimate rights for decades, he said if the government thinks that leaving TIPRA Motha workers angry and resentful would bring them political strength, then it is wrong.

“Without Motha, this government could collapse any day. The calculation is simple. They have 31 MLAs. If two people resign, the government will be toppled,” he said.

He alleged if the demand for Roman script is ignored further, massive protests would be organised all across the state and the government wouldn’t be in a position to face such a situation.

He claimed chief minister Manik Saha had promised to form a committee to look into the demand of Roman script, but there has been no progress on that pledge so far.

“I throw an open challenge to the chief minister. We will give him a couple of Kokborok pronunciations which can only be accurately spelled and written in Roman script. Neither Bengali nor any other script can fix these problems, and this is why this demand has been raised,” Debbarma stated.

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