"We want Tipraland for the survival and existence of the Indigenous people of Tripura."
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Why i feel the need for a separate state 'TIPRALAND' in Tripura
As soon as some people hear the demand of a Separate state in the ADC areas of Tripura, many random questions automatically start arising in their minds, Like- “Why should we divide this already small state of ours into two pieces” while on the other hand, the so called original natives or sons of the soil comment, “The whole state of Tripura is completely ours, why should we divide it and give the other half to the others(Read illegal immigrants)?” Their point seems to be as already earlier we have had suffered so much after losing our fertile areas of Chakhna-Roshanabaad- which was considered as the financial hub of erstwhile Tipperah kingdom otherwise.
Some also say “When we already have an well functioning ADC(Autonomous District Council), why the need to demand a Separate state again?? & so on ETC ETC!
But what we don’t remember here and tend to forget again and again is that, twenty eight(28) years ago it (TTAADC) had been already divided in to two parts and even the administration was separate for both the State Govt and the Tribal Autonomous district council. Even the boundaries and borders of each other were clearly defined and separated. The ADC was formed in the year 1982, for the sole protection of the rights of the indigenous people living in the rural and hilly parts of Tripura and so as to ensure their existence.
If the present demand for a separate state was so communal & divisive,why did we demand a ADC also then? Which is more or less the same kind.
Although after still having a Separate area, earmarked with a separate administration and distinct boundaries- which is also otherwise known as ADC, why some sections of people were compelled & forced to demand a Separate state again based on the ADC areas.
Here is a brief account of it.
Tipra or Tripura or Tipperah was an very ancient kingdom and an independent country ruled by 184 kings till the present date. Even now the king is held in high esteem, greatly loved and respected by his people and followers. The kingdom of Tripura at one point of time extended till Bhutan in the north & Bay of Bengal in the south, towards the east it extended till the China mountains, Meghlidesh also presently known as Manipur, while on the west it comprised the whole of Bongodesh (Present day West Bengal and Bangladesh). Even if we see the map (5& 6) of independent Tripura, the whole of undivided Assam and whole of Present Bangladesh areas were under the rule of Tripura kingdom & on the banks of the mighty river Brahmaputra existed ‘KHOLONGMA’- which was Tripura’s erstwhile capital at one certain point of time. Even now the Ruins and relics of the Tripura palace remains buried beneath and bear testimony to the above stated fact.
Till 14th October,1949 Tripura remained an independent kingdom ruled by its King but on the evening of 17th may 1947, tragedy struck the second oldest kingdom of the world. One of Tripura’s most popular foresighted king and who is also considered as the modern architect of Tripura, Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya died at an very early age of 39 who was also co-incidentally independent Tripura’s last ruler or the 184th king to have ruled it. During his death, his first or eldest son Kirit Bikram Kishore was a minor, So on his behalf his mother Regent Maharani Kanchan Prabha Devi signed an ‘Merger Agreement’ with the Indian Union. According to the Merger Agreement signed by both the parties, Tripura finally got included in the Indian union on 15th October,1949. The people of Tripura who had now become the Indian citizens had thought that this same Merger Agreement would be a blessing for them and the Tripuri people in general would be hugely benefited by it which shall then be followed by phases of rapid development but instead of being a boon,it turned out to be a bane and a curse for the people. One after another all the terms and conditions and agreements of the MERGER AGREEMENT were grossly violated and were never respected by subsequent governments.
Before his death the foresighted and people’s King- Maharaja Bir Bikram had reserved 2060 square(BORGO) miles of land for the PANCHA TRIPURIS (Debbarma,Reang,Jamatia,Noatia/Tripura and Halam) in areas like Khowai,Kamalpur,Kailasahar,Dharmanagar,Udaipur,Amarpur,Belonia,Sonamura.No one was allowed to visit and settle in these lands except the Pancha tripuris. But Tripura govt. in clear violation of the Merger Agreement made with the Indian Union, de-reserved this whole vast tracts of land and shamelessly allotted this same lands to the illegal immigrants who had then crossed over from East Pakistan(Present Bangladesh), after communal riots had taken place and this trend has continued till the present times.As a result of which the sons of the soil or the tiprasas lost almost every fertile plain lands in the hands of the incoming settlers and finally had to move over to the hills.
Based on this there’s this popular & melancholic patriotic Kokborok song, which always plays in my mind
“Phaantor o tongmanw,Hachwk kabaikha,Rangchak ni haa le kwmakha”
All this has resulted in the Tiprasa being initially converted in to a minority from a majority and then finally the biggest blow was in the form of gradually being converted in to a microscopic minority, with absolutely no say in the democracy and the govt. working.
But some section of the tiprasa youths still managed to fought hard for their rights and existence and due to their strong democratic movement, finally the Central govt. granted them the TTAADC(Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council) in the year 1982 based on the tiprasa areas. It functioned according to the 7th schedule from 1982 to 1984 and from 1985 till 2010 present for 26 years, its been functioning according to the 6th schedule. The tiprasa people had thought that with the formation of ADC, most of the chronic problems of the deprived tripuris would be solved, they would get both the financial and political rights but it remained a mere distant dream for them, as we all found out even today after 28 years of getting ADC- there has been no significant improvement in the condition of the borok people and even the pace of development is the same, like it was 28 years prior to formation of ADC.
Infact some say the present condition has infact more worsened due to the cruel,emotionless and step motherly treatment meted to it by the State govt. and the tiprasas have till now remained deprived from all sorts of benefits and been subjected to all kinds of torture and neglect.
The following instances can also be noted in this regard:-
1.Clearly violating the rules of the 6th schedule,the State Govt. has always interfered in the proper working and administrative machinery of the ADC. All the works of it are being made done by the State controlled BDO and Panchayat Secretary(P.S),as a result of which ADC appointed Sub-Zonal and Zonal officers are made to sit idle and sleep in their chairs.
2. ADC area’s 527 village committees have been rendered powerless and all its work are made being handled by the P.S. and which is handling all the affairs, although according to the 6th schedule,in all the 527 village committee, 527 village committee secretary should have been appointed and only they would be entitled to carry out the works of the village committee and no other authority like P.S has the rights to interfere in its working. But the State Govt. is shamelessly doing everything knowingly.
3.The State Govt. through its Official Gazette notification in 2000 had notified that 9 departments would be handed over to ADC. But its been 10 years and till today only a few departments have been handed over partially in the North and Dhalai districts,but that too only after one of the regional indigenous party had raised a strong voice and started demanding a Separate State since the last two years.
4.Even in the case of employment and promotion,its been noticed that in the ADC area, 100% roster is being implemented in which ST(Schedule Tribes) benefit=31% and non-indigenous share constitute= 69%. But likewise,if we see the population in the ADC areas the indigenous or ST people constitute around 82% of the ADC population and others=18%.We know TTAADC was formed only for the sole benefit of the Tribal or indigenous people and for the protection of their rights and existence.So in that case there’s absolutely no question of handing over the benefits or providing quota or reservation for other class of people.
If we bring out a 100% roster also, the ratio of benefit in the case of employment and promotion in ADC areas should be ST=82% and others=18%. But why should it instead be ST=31% and Non-ST=69%??? Which is presently happening.
5. While in the case of NIT-A (National Institute of Technology,Agartala),the HC Judge had clearly stated that since it clearly falls under the ADC areas, according to the 6th schedule,the ST or the Indigenous Students will be entitled to a benefit of minimum 31% reservation during the time of admission in this tech institute. But going against the High court order,both the Education Minister Shri Anil Sarkar and Opposition Congress CLP leader Shri Ratan Lal nath, had clearly stated in a Press conference that the ST or the indigenous people shouldn’t be granted more than 7.5% reservation and also instead pressurized the Central Govt. for providing 15% reservation for SC and 27% for OBC and with their strong arm twisting methods,they finally managed to succeed in convincing the central govt. to go in favour of their demands.
6.Annual Budget- Tripura State’s Annual Budget last year was Rs. 6515 crores. If we take the ratio as 31%, ADC’s budget should have been Rs. 2019 crores 60 lakh but what the State govt. handed was Rs. 983 crores which is just 15% of the State budget and sufficient enough to pay only the Salaries of the govt. and the Petrol diesel charges of the Ministers and employees. Hence very few amount is left for the various developmental plans and budgets passed by the ADC administration.
Also the per head budget of the State is Rs. 11945 while in the case of ADC its Rs 1975 per head, which is almost a deficit of 9970 rupees. So if the state’s per head budget is Rs. 9970, ADC’s will be just One(1) rupees..The ratio will be 9970:1 ..Isn’t this another glaring example of step motherly treatment by the state!!
7.The education system in the ADC areas is in the verge of collapse very soon,with absolutely no infrastructure. Majority of the schools do not have table,chairs,bench,blackboard.The doors and windows are absent or broken in most of the school buildings..No proper toilets and urinal facilities withen the school boundary. There is an Acute Crisis of quality teachers. Some High schools have jus 3 /4 teachers.
Also most of these school buildings are again occupied by TSR and other Paramilitary forces like CRPF,Assam Rifles and hence the schools remain closed all the time. As soon as these students enter,they will have to first salute them.
In the last 2009-2010 year,it was noticed in the results of the 24 High Schools under ADC areas, that there was 100% FAIL. Due to reasons unknown, its been seen that tiprasa students never fared excellently in their Class X -Madhyamik Board exam, forget dreaming of the TOP 10 Spots. Although in the case of CBSE, ICSE we have seen numerous tiprasa students scoring letter marks with percentage hovering around (80%, 85%, 90%, 92% & 95%).Why is it so? & better not to talk of the Joint Entrance examinations ,for getting a seat in State sponsored Medical and enginnering seats ..
8.JOBS AND PROMOTION
In the case of jobs and promotion,according to the 100% roster point rules, there is a provision of 31% reservation for ST’s but they are severely being discriminated here also. There is a backlog of more than 14000 jobs including all category regarding which the CM of Tripura clearly stated saying, this backlog can’t be fulfilled anymore in future.
In the year 2008, under the education dept.,750 headmasters were promoted in which only 47 were ST’s.
In the year 2010,there were 405 vacancy for the post of Agricultural Officer, out of which only 60 ST candidates were finally appointed,although 126 posts was clearly earmarked for the ST. Rest 66 posts were mysteriously kept vacant and govt. is now trying to distribute these posts among the other categories like SC/OBC and general after introducing another Fresh Roster.
Also many promotion posts of Agriculture Assistant Director for ST’s are lying vacant and its not being handed over, as a result of which a case is still going on in the high court.
9.Illegal Land Acquisition
In contrary to the Provisions of the 6th schedule,the State govt. till the year 2008 has facilitated the illegal allotment of land to 13,864 non-indigenous families in the Khaas Jami under ADC areas who are otherwise the same illegal settlers and outsiders .
Taking advantage of the innocence and poverty of the indigenous people,some sections of non indigenous people have managed to secure a lease of 90 years in the indigenous lands for serving their business purpose and have set up Brick Kilns/factory and Rubber Estate.
While for extending the NIT-Agt,Bodhjungnagar Industrial growth centre and also for setting up of the TSR(Tripura State Rifles) headquarters, hundreds of acres of vasts lands will have to be forcefully sacrificed by the tripuri people residing in Sadar north’s Jirania,Bodhjung Nagar etc and the State govt. has already started this process.
(The same TSR force although formed for protecting the lives and ensuring peace and lawful order in the state, created havoc in the lives of indigenous people,Hundreds of indig. youths were cold bloodedly murdered in the name of militancy and in fake encounters aimed at achieving gallantry awards and medals.The Innocent tripuri women were raped & then seriously admitted in hospitals. Borok people still remember the horrific days when they had burnt the whole areas of Kutna bari,Rajchantai,Takhumbari[S.tripura],Ampura,all indigenous villages.)
Also in the name of creating Wildlife & Elephant sanctuaries, The State govt. has till now reserved thousands of acres of forest land in the name of Gomti project in south Tripura and 133 indigenous families have already been sent eviction notices and the last date was 31 july,2010 with out providing any alternative rehabilitation package first.While it’s the same scenario in Devatamura, Atharamura, Kalajhari also. On one hand the govt. had dereserved 2060 square miles earmarked for Pancha tripuris and facilitated the settlement of illegal settlers in it while on the other hand the govt. is again reserving vast areas of land in the name of wildlife protection. Seems the govt. values the life of the wildlife more than the life of the indigenous people.The lives of the indigenous people are indeed of no value or importance to the govt.
The ‘Forest Rights Act,2006’ is also being grossly violated and misused in the small hilly state of Tripura.It was clearly mentioned in the act that in the case of non indigenous people, they will be granted forest land only if they have been residing in that same forest area since the last 75 years or for more than 3 generations.If mathematically calculated those who have been residing before 1930! It’s a known fact that non indigenous never existed/resided prior to 1930,in the forest areas of Tripura and if any,only a few of them were seen in the towns and capital. But inspite of that, 35000 non-indigenous applicants were illegally granted land for residing in the ADC areas and the state govt. has also promised all kinds of benefits and facilities for the settlers.This was clearly mentioned in CM’s speech at political Rallies held at Gandacherra,Chailengta and Dhanpur.
If these kind of activities go on,we are pretty sure that very soon we will be converted in to a Minority even in the ADC areas also. But what after that? Where do we all the Indigenous people go then? Will the Sons of the soil be then able to say, We are ST! We are ADC! ST Quota! If we don’t have any land to say as ourselves ,where are we going to stand and talk? What will happen to our successors? Where will our future generation go?
There’s a strong possibility of us getting extinct like the Red Indians one day. So in order to ensure the existence of the indigenous people and to achieve the political and financial rights, SEPARATE STATE in the ADC areas is the only viable solution left for us. There’s no other path or way left for us. Due to the above scenario and environment only, some sections of the Indig. People and IPFT party(Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura), were forced to consider the demand for a Separate State and are fighting hard for it since the last two years despite very less support from the tiprasa people and city dwellers.
While those who support,some of them worry about the viability of the new separate State,Whether its going to work or not? Where is all the funds going to come from?
If we at all get the New Separate State some day, which is going to be renamed TIPRALAND God willing, lots of scope and opportunities to grow and develop lies ahead for us. As we have noticed most of the ONGC drilling sites,the BARAMURA Gas unit, the huge reserves of high quality of Black Coal found by GSI recently which will make india the world’s third largest coal producer, all lie under the ADC area. We have those huge Forest products(Bamboo,timber,furniture wood),Tea and Rubber plantations which can never be done on plain lands.Tourism sector can be given a huge boost.
Then there is this prestigious educational institutions like NIT-Agartala & Agricultural College,Kamalghat which all falls under the ADC areas.
Please sign this petition to show your solidarity to the demand of Tipraland. This petition is hosted by Voiceoftiprasa.com. Articles by Mr. Dhiraj Debbarma.
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