Around 200 tribal protesters were detained in Agartala on Tuesday as they staged a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Under the banner of the Joint Movement Against CAA (JMACAA), the protesters gathered in from of Rabindra Shatabarshiki Bhawan and raised slogans like ‘We want Justice’, ‘NRC Hai Hai’, ‘Narendra Modi Hai Hai’, ‘Amit Shah Hai Hai’. The protest was part of a previously announced series of agitations against the CAA.
JMACAA, a joint forum of three tribal political parties and some social organisations, had held a three-day Tripura Bandh from December 9 last year against the amended citizenship legislation. The forum later met Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, who assured them tribals would be “protected” in Tripura.
Nearly a month after the meeting, JMACAA leaders say they feel “cheated” and “undermined”, since the Home Minister didn’t invite them for a second round of talks about how he plans to keep Tripura safe amidst the CAA.
Speaking at the gathering, JMACAA convener and human rights activist Anthony Debbarma said they are against the CAA since Tripura has already accommodated a lot of refugees and immigrants since its merger with the Indian Union in 1949.
“We were assured by the Home Minister that we would be called for a second round of dialogue after 10-15 days. It’s been nearly a month since then, but there is no sign of the talk. If the central government can’t keep its promises, we shall resume our agenda of a statewide strike soon. Today’s protest was a peaceful token of our agitation,” Anthony told indianexpress.com.
Animesh Debbarma, leader of National Conference of Tripura (NCT) and member of JMACAA, said the anti-CAA agitation was being pitched by some as a movement against the Bengali community. “We aren’t against any community. If the central government plans on creating a separate state for Bengalis in Madhya Pradesh, Andaman or give them Bangalistan (Bengali state), we have no problem. They can be rehabilitated anywhere in India. But Tripura can’t take the burden of immigrants anymore,” he said.
Meanwhile, BJP’s ruling alliance partner in the state — Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) — is currently holding an indefinite sit-in-demonstration at Khumulwng, headquarters of the Tripura ADC, against the CAA. They are also demanding that NRC revision be introduced in the state, illegal immigrants be deported, and a separate state be granted for the tribals.
Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma, who previously headed the joint movement against CAB, has now floated a new forum called TIPRA to agitate against the CAA and other issues.
He has appealed to people to join him in a protest rally on January 11 on a host of issues “related to the welfare of indigenous people”.
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