After waiting for nine days in vain to meet Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, the Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Act (JMACAA), a forum of four tribal political parties and social organisations, has accused the Centre of “racial discrimination, harassment and ill-treatment”.
The body has claimed the government’s “plan all along was to keep them busy in New Delhi so the anti-CAA movement in Tripura could be weakened.”
A six-member JMACAA delegation, led by its convener and human rights activist Anthony Debbarma, had been invited to New Delhi on January 8 for a meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). But for nine days, claimed JMACAA members, the MHA kept changing the time of their appointment with Shah.
This meeting was supposed to be a follow-up of a previous interaction on December 12 last year, where different tribal parties of Tripura had expressed disagreement with the CAA.
In the nine-day period, Minister of State for Home GK Reddy met them once, assuring they would soon be taken to Shah, said the JMACAA members. Failing to meet him by January 18, the delegation came back.
“We were informed by Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on January 8 that Home Minister Shah would meet us on the next evening. We rushed to Delhi on January 9, only to be told the appointment had been deferred to the next day. All of us waited, fully decked up, till 1:30 am, but were told the meeting had been deferred again. Then we were told the meeting would be possible only after two days. And so it went on till January 17, when we had enough,” Debbarma told indianexpress.com.
JMACAA leader and senior tribal politician Jagadish Debbarma alleged the state and central governments wanted to keep them out of Tripura to reap benefits in the upcoming Tripura ADC elections.
Accusing the Centre of “harassment, racial discrimination and ill-treatment”, the leaders have said they will soon convene a meeting with all tribal political parties, civil society groups, NGOs and individuals to “build a unified struggle against CAA”.
All tribal leaders of Tripura, except those in the BJP, have maintained that CAA would open the floodgates for illegal immigrants in the state. Though areas under 6th Schedule and Inner Line Permit (ILP) are exempt from the ambit of the CAA, tribal leaders have reasoned that a meteoric rise in non-tribal population in the state’s general areas would later affect the scheduled areas.
Tripura ADC is spread across 7,132.56 square km and covers nearly 68 per cent of the state’s geographical area. However, tribals comprise only one-third of the state’s population of 37 lakh people.
Meanwhile, Tripura’s ruling ally Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) is holding an indefinite sit-in-demonstration against the CAA along with some other demands at Khumulwng, headquarters of the Tripura ADC, since January 6. IPFT spokesperson Mangal Debbarma said his party was planning to send a delegation to New Delhi to meet Shah soon.
Opposition CPI (M) tribal wing Gana Mukti Parishad has announced a series of agitations against CAA in the next few weeks. These agitations have started from January 17 and will continue till the 25th.
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