Normal life came to a grinding halt in Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) Saturday due to a dawn-to-dusk strike called by six tribal parties demanding the resignation of CM Biplab Deb over police firing during protests on Citizenship Amendment Bill on January 8.
The strike was jointly organized by Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT), Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) – Tipraha – a breakaway faction of Tripura’s tribal ruling ally, NCT, Tipraland State Party (TSP), TPF, DYB and Twipra Students Federation (TSF).
Protestors raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CM Deb and BJP president Amit Shah for passing of the bill in the Lok Sabha during the rally at Sadhupara as a large group of bandh supporters led by INPT general secretary Jagadish Debbarma and National Conference of Tripura (NCT) president Animesh Debbarma held picketing. Protestors were seen at Karamcherra in North Tripura district, Dewanpasha in Sepahijala district, Sachirambari in South Tripura, Amarpur in Gomati district, Sindhukobra Para and Kachucherra in Dhalai district and Lalitbnazaar, Khamtingbari areas in Baramura Range in West Tripura.
“This bandh was spontaneously supported by people across Tripura ADC areas and people of the state at large. We condemn police firing on peaceful citizenship bill protesters at Madhabbari on January 08”, Debbarma told reporters.
At least fifteen persons were injured, with three sustaining bullet injuries, during a clash between policemen and North East Students’ Organization (NESO) supporters at Khumulwng, headquarters of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), nearly 25 km from Agartala, on Tuesday. NESO had called an 11-hour North East bandh in eight states of North East India on Tuesday in protest against the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Referring to the incident, Jagadish Debbarma said, “barbaric and merciless” police firing on peaceful agitators had never happened in Tripura. He said the ADC strike was called to demand an immediate resignation of the Chief Minister for ordering to fire on ‘Tiprasa’ (indigenous people of Tripura), judicial enquiry into Madhabbari clash by a sitting judge of the High Court, granting Rs. 25 lakh compensation to all those injured in police firing and withdrawal of cases registered against student leaders centering the incident.
The tribal leader warned that if Tripura’s tribal people were heckled in similar ways or were shot at in future, “there would be a fire in Tripura”. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Assistant Inspector General Subrata Chakraborty today said supporters of the bandh held picketing in several districts during the day. However, the AIG informed that no incident of violence was reported from anywhere in the state.
Meanwhile, ban on the Internet which was promulgated on January 08, shortly after Madhbabari clashes, was withdrawn this afternoon.
Tripura ADC is spread across 7,132.56 square km and covers nearly 68% of the state’s geographical area. However, tribals comprise only one-third of the state’s population of 37 lakh people.