ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tripura ADC Election, 2000

The formation of an autonomous council has not brought democracy to the tribals of Tripura. The pro- and anti-tribal terrorist groups made a mockery of recent elections. Murder and abduction cast a shadow on the ballot box.

A midst widespread charges of unprecedented gagging of public opinion at gun-point at the time of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) election (held on April 30 and May 3 and results declared on May 6), the newly-elected members of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) elected (in the absence of opposition members) on May 19, Hirendra Tripura as chairman, Debabrata Koloi as chief executive member (CEM) and eight other executive members of the TTAADC and all of them pledged obedience to the Constitution of India. The 30-member TTAADC has 28 elected members, the other two being nominated by the governor of Tripura. The IPFT had bagged 18 seats and the Left Front 10 (CPI(M) had won eight, CPI and Forward Block one each – see Table). Just after taking the oath on May 19, Debabrata Koloi in a press conference expressed his mind to demand, among other things, imposition of Inner Line Permit in the whole state (not simply in the TTAADC areas), introduction of Roman script in Kakbarak language of the tribal people (in place of the present Bengali script), disbandment of the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) as it was not sufficiently ‘pro-tribal’ according to him.

The reality is otherwise. The insurgents are afraid of the TSR because of the latter’s death-defying courage and commitment to combat terrorism. The new CEM of the TTAADC is opposed to the extension of the National Security Act in the case of the extremists or the formation of ‘Gram Rakshi Bahini’ (village defence force) – a concept floated by the state government. Koloi wants to support the Gorkhaland movement in West Bengal. It is reported that just after the conclusion of the TTAADC election he is said to have demanded removal of the statue of Dasaratha Deb – the legendary tribal leader and former chief minister of Tripura – from the precinct of the TTAADC administrative block at Khumulwng, only some kilometres away from Agartala, the capital of the state. The Left Front had expressed ‘deep concern’ over the manner in which the TTAADC was virtually hijacked by the IPFT – a new forum of hill regional units comprising the Tripura Hills People’s Party (THPP), Tripura Tribal National Conference (TTNC), Tripura Tribal Students’ Federation (TTSF), Tripura Upajati Karmachari Samity (TUKS) and above all backed by the dreaded and outlawed extremist guerilla organisation, the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT).

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