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TIPRA Motha Holds A Mass Rally In Support Of Greater Tipraland

TIPRA Motha held a mass rally in Agartala on 12th November in support of its demand for 'Greater Tipraland', a separate state for the tribals residing in the North-eastern states. Adivasi Awaaz creator Ruhan Murasing writes about this rally in the following article and discusses the factors and historical aspects surrounding the demand for Greater Tipraland.

The Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) Motha, launched in 2021, is seeking a distinct state of Greater Tipraland for the indigenous people of Tripura. The chief of TIPRA Motha, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma announced a mega mass gathering on 12th November 2022 at Vivekananda stadium also known as the 'astabal' Ground. The gathering was organized to put forth the demands of the Tiprasa people (tribal community of Tripura).

Tipra giving last hope to the huge Tiprasa majority in the mass gathering Pic source:- Instagram account of pradhyotkishoremanikyadebbarma

The organized gathering drew in a large number of people. The astonishing debut of TIPRA Motha during the elections of 2021, has put it in the limelight. The gathering saw the presence of prominent party members as well as figures like Baichung Bhutia, the former Indian football player. The main idea proposed during the gathering was the demand for Greater Tipraland. Articles 2 and 3 of the Indian constitution were cited to demand a separate state for the indigenous communities of the North-eastern states.

Historical Background:

  • Tripura was a kingdom ruled by the Manikya dynasty from the late 13th century until the signing of the Instrument of Accession with the Indian government in 1949.

  • The demand for a separate state stems from the anxiety of the indigenous communities due to the change in the demographics of the state, which has reduced them to a minority.

  • This happened because of the displacement of Bengalis from erstwhile East Pakistan between 1947 and 1971 (Bangladesh).

  • From 63.77% in 1881, the population of the tribals in Tripura went down to 31.80% by the year 2011.

  • In the intervening decades, ethnic conflicts and insurgency gripped the state, which shares a nearly 860-km long boundary with Bangladesh.

  • The joint forum has also pointed out that the indigenous people have not only been reduced to a minority but have also been dislodged from lands they have been inhabiting for generations.

The party wants the Centre to discuss their demand (s) but has not received any response so far. All major political parties in the state including the ruling party BJP along with opposition parties like the CPI(M) and Congress, have rejected their demand on several occasions, calling it “separatist and divisive”. If Greater Tipraland is formed, tribals, who form one-third of the population will control two-thirds of the land, while non-tribals, who form two-thirds of the population, will have one-third of Tripura’s land. “We want a constitutional solution to our demand, which only the central government can provide. It is not possible to solve our problems solely through sanctioning financial packages,” said Debbarma. "If the Centre is not in agreement with our demands, then the Prime Minister or the Union Home Minister should give us an alternative solution in writing, and we would discuss it with the people of our community. However, the Centre is neither responding to our demands nor inviting us for dialogue. I ask why the Centre can negotiate with NSCN but not with us. Is it because we are peacefully putting forth our demands?", questioned Debbarma.

Picture of a massive gathering crossed the limit of the ground. Pic source:- Instagram account of pradhyotkishoremanikyadebbarma

Debbarma opines that the influx of migrants into the North-eastern states, especially after the creation of Bangladesh, has not only made the tribal community, a minority in their own states but has also resulted in numerous problems. The cultural domination of the non-tribals, as they now form the majority has resulted in the loss of languages, culture and heritage of the tribals. Institutions like schools and colleges have been moulded to cater to the demands of the non-tribals while side-lining the tribals. Income opportunities have been snatched away from the tribals. The crime rate against tribals has increased. They have become 'powerless' in their own homes. This situation, Debbarma states, can be rectified "only through the creation of a separate state for the tribals." He asserted that while the motto of his party is to empower and strengthen the tribal community, he is not against any other community. “Many Bengalis live in the tribal council area. We want them to live in peace and harmony. In the princely state of Tripura, Bengalis and tribals lived peacefully and we want to maintain that tradition,” he said.

Tipra Motha is currently supported by the TWF (Tipra Women's Federation) and TISF( Tipra Indigenous Students' Federation), both of which also share the demand for Greater Tipraland.

Reference:- Wikipedia

This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.


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