Tripura government made huge security deployment in vulnerable locations of the state including national highways and Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC) headquarter Khumlung since last night following an indefinite strike called against Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).
While Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (JMACAB), a conglomeration of all tribal-based regional parties, NGOs and student organizations of Tripura called bandh for indefinite period, Tripura United Indigenous People Council (TUIPC) has also called it for 50 hours and ruling BJP’s ally in the government IPFT called for 12 hours in ADC area.
Although Tripura (Central) University and MBB University have postponed their exams slated for December 9, Tripura government did not make any alteration in their exam schedule and made attendance of the teachers mandatory like other employees even in ADC areas, which triggered serious resentment among the people.
According to reports, vehicular movement, educational institutions, government establishments and markets are closed. The agitators placed their flags crossed in the gates of the institutions requesting the people not to defy the strike. The banned militant outfit NLFT extended their support to anti-CAB movement stating that proposed bill would act against socio-economic and political interests of the indigenous people, who have already reduced to a minority in their own homeland in Tripura.
However, state home department officials stated beside, state police and Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawans, paramilitary forces like CRPF and Assam Rifles were deployed in the sensitive locations while BSF has been put on alert. The security on national highways was increased to keep the movement of the vehicle smooth.
Despite security arrangement and assurance of the state government, vehicle movement was sparse on national highways and in the ADC areas. Most of the government establishments remained close following picketing of the agitators. Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has cancelled train service in Tripura including local services.
The strike also has a visible impact in the local markets where vegetables supplied from interior and tribal areas. The students come from nearby ADC villages, rickshaw pullers and meat suppliers were found absent in the city today. The private vehicle services to one to town to other including Agartala have been suspended.
Meanwhile, INPT general secretary Jagadish Debbarma said that all regional parties have to protest against CAB and it would be continued until central government exclude northeast from CAB or withdraw it and start NRC across the country.
He said, “We the son of the soil and indigenous people of Tripura have already become minority due to massive influx from Bangladesh since 1947. However, somehow we could manage the situation and secure peaceful co-existence of tribal and non-tribal. If parliament passed the bill, indigenous people of the state would be the biggest victim.”
He added that the Central government was repeatedly requested to keep Northeast out of the ambit of CAB but they did not accept it. “India is a big country; if the government wants they can allow people from neighbouring countries to bigger states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar. Northeast is already flooded with illegal migrants from Bangladesh why the Central government pushing more people here,” Debbarma asked.
In a separate statement, NLFT said, “We are not against any religiously persecuted people coming in for asylum from neighbouring countries but Tripura is a tiny state which had reached a saturation point as far as sheltering refugees was concerned way back in 1947. Why Tripura should be yet again burdened with new entrants.”
They alleged indigenous people were mercilessly exploited and persecuted by the refugees who had come in earlier and the demographic imbalance caused by the influx was at the root of all socio-economic and political unrest in the state for more than 30 years.