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An indefinite road and rail blockade by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), which wants a separate state, is set to continue as talks between the state’s Left government and the protesters on Sunday remained inconclusive. The Tripura government had called the IPFT for talks. The outfit attended the talks but refused to end the blockade, as asked by the state, without a “concrete assurance” from the Centre on their core demand for creation of a separate state.
Reports from Agartala quoted IPFT president Narendra Chandra Debbarma as saying: “…we will not withdraw the blockade until the central government gave us a concrete assurance.” The landlocked state is already beginning to feel the pinch as the blockade has led to shortage of essential commodities and petroleum products since it began on July 10.
The only ray of hope for Tripura now is a meeting between an IPFT delegation and Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home, in New Delhi on Monday. IPFT general secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia and the outfit’s youth wing chief Dhananjoy Tripura are in the national capital. “The state government should also communicate its stand… to the Centre,” Debbarma said. The state government delegation that discussed the issue and asked the IPFT leaders to withdraw the blockade in the overall interest of the people, was led by chief secretary Sanjib Ranjan. State police chief A K Shukla, home secretary
Shantanu Singh, and additional DGP S S Chaturvedi were also in the team. The state BJP unit also fixed July 18 as the deadline for the state government to break the blockade. “The CPI(M) and the Left Front government have patronised the blockade. Otherwise, how could it go on for so many days without any action from the government?” Sunil Deodhar, the BJP in-charge for Tripura, said. The Congress said that while the state had not taken any step to end the blockade, a section of traders were creating an artificial crisis of essential commodities.