IPFT demands separate statehood as govt starts preparation for implementing CAA - Hindustan Times
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IPFT demands separate statehood as govt starts preparation for implementing CAA

ByPriyanka Deb Barman
May 26, 2024 04:00 PM IST

The IPFT said keeping the Autonomous District Council outside the Citizenship Amendment Act cover alone wouldn’t guarantee protection of tribal interests

A week after Tripura chief minister Manik Saha said his government would be following latest guidelines from Centre for implementing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP)’s alliance partner the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) on Saturday reiterated their demand for a separate Tipraland state and said keeping the Autonomous District Council (ADC) outside CAA cover alone wouldn’t guarantee protection of tribal interests.

The Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) is an alliance partner of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tripura. (PTI File Photo)
The Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) is an alliance partner of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tripura. (PTI File Photo)

In a media briefing in Agartala on Saturday, IPFT vice president Pradip Debbarma said, “Protection of tribal interests can’t be guaranteed just by keeping the ADC outside cover of the CAA. If the CAA is implemented in non-ADC areas of the state, it will change the demographic composition of the state’s population. And it will cause tribals to be further relegated to minority, tribal reserved seats in the Lok Sabha and the assembly would be lesser, less reservation benefits would be available for tribals”.

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However, the tribal leader thanked the central government for excluding the 6th schedule areas from the ambit of CAA and said the original version of the nation’s citizenship act in 1955 didn’t have any restriction against granting legal rights to anyone within the 6th schedule areas except in Assam.

“The CAA has officially mandated that no one except tribal communities concerned within the 6th schedule areas can be granted citizenship rights. We consider this our moral victory,” Debbarma said.

While the IPFT, which was floated by Late NC Debbarma in 2009, mainly struggled to achieve its core demand of a separate Tipraland state for tribals, the party also demanded that illegal immigrants be identified and deported.

The Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which was formed in 1972, is non-contiguously spread across 70 percent of the state’s geographical territory. It houses nearly 30 percent of the state’s population, comprising 19 recognised tribal communities.

Floating the demand of a separate Tipraland state, the tribal leader said issues of reservation would not rise again only if a separate state were formed comprising ADC areas in Tripura.

“Tribal interests cannot be protected simply by keeping the ADC outside the ambit of CAA. We request for implementing this law along with forming a separate state comprising the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC),” Debbarma said.

He also said that the state’s tribal council should be given the responsibility of ensuring that outsiders don’t get legal rights within the ADC.

“The local indigenous administration or the TTAADC should be given the responsibility of ensuring that outsiders can’t enter the ADC, or else this law would be implemented for namesake alone; outsider infiltration wouldn’t practically be stopped. The current ADC administration doesn’t have such powers. Such infiltration can be stopped only if the ADC areas are given powers of a state,” he said.

His comments came days after the CM said that the state government would work as per the latest guidelines of the centre on implementing CAA.

Soon after the CM’s comments, an order from the census directorate where all District Magistrates were instructed to form committees and designate officials for processing applications of individuals who might want to get citizenship under the CAA.

The official also said that State Level Empowered Committee and District Level Committees who would be supervising the process of accepting, scrutinising and finalising the applications were already formed and officials concerned were handling applications filed online for the time being.

Earlier this week, royal scion-turned-politician Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma, who founded TIPRA Motha, which is BJP’s bigger tribal alliance partner in the state government, said that he spoke with the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) and was assured that all 6th schedule areas in the North East India would be kept outside the ambit of CAA.

However, he said in an X post that propaganda was being spread about the law and said the central government should clarify the entire subject before public.

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