The indefinite highway and railway blockade called by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPTF) demanding a separate ‘Twipraland’ completed one week on Sunday, threatening to cause severe shortage of essential commodities and blocking movement of passenger traffic, with a discussion convened by the Left Front government in Agartala ending without any conclusive solution.
While the Tripura government had called the IPFT leaders for talks, the agitationists refused to respond positively to the former’s appeal to call off the blockade, and insisted it wanted a “concrete assurance” from the Centre on their core demand for creation of a separate state.
Reports from Agartala quoting IPFT president Narendra Chandra Debbarma said the agitationists would not withdraw their agitation until the central government called them for talks and assured them of conceding to their core demand. “We have told the state government officials that we will not withdraw the blockade until the central government gave us a concrete assurance about our separate state demand,” Debbarma was quoted as saying after the talks ended inconclusively on Sunday afternoon.
The landlocked state that is surrounded by Bangladesh on three sides and is connected to the rest of India by only one national highway and one railway track is already beginning to feel the pinch as the blockade had led to shortage of essential commodities and petroleum products. The blockade 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, with IPFT general secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia and its youth wing chief Dhananjoy Tripura already reaching the national capital. “The state government should also communicate its stand on our demand to the Centre,” Debbarma said.
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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, with DGP AK Shukla, home secretary Shantanu Singh, and additional DGP SS Chaturvedi also remaining part of the team.
Meanwhile, the state BJP and Congress have separately appealed to the Left Front government to end the impasse as early as possible. The state BJP unit also fixed a deadline of July 18 for the state government to break the blockade. “The CPI(M) and the Left Front government have patronized the blockade. Otherwise how can it go on for so many days without any action from the government?” Sunil Deodhar, BJP in-charge for Tripura said in Agartala.
The Congress on the other hand complained that while the state government had not taken any step to remove the blockade, a section of unscrupulous traders were taking advantage of the situation and creating an artificial crisis of essential commodities.
The ruling Left Front on its part has accused the BJP of backing the highway and railway blockade called by the IPFT. “As days pass, it has become evidently clear that the BJP is involved in a political conspiracy to disturb peace and tranquility in the state. The BJP is behind the blockade,” Bijan Dhar, state CPI(IM) secretary said.