Tribal parties demand NRC in Tripura

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Agartala : Different tribal-based political parties in Tripura, including the ruling BJP's junior partner Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), are demanding a NRC in the state.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, however, said that everyone in the border state had valid documents and there was no demand for a National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Besides IPFT, the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) and the National Conference of Tripura (NCT), all tribal-based political parties, have undertaken protests demanding a citizen's register on the lines of the NRC in Assam.

"We had earlier organised rallies in Tripura demanding initiation of NRC in the state. On August 23 the IPFT will hold a mega rally in (the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council headquarters) Khumulwng," IPFT Vice-President Ananta Debbarma told the media on Wednesday.

The IPFT, which has eight members in the 60-member Tripura Assembly, has two ministers in the 9-member council of ministry headed by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.

He said NRC was necessary for the protection of the indigenous tribals and genuine citizens of India.

INPT General Secretary Jagadhish Debbarma told the media on Wednesday that a sit-in-demonstration was planned last month but the Bharatiya-Janata Party (BJP)-IPFT alliance government did not give permission for the protest.

"We have filed a case in the Tripura High Court against the Tripura government's rejection of permission for holding the demonstration," the INPT leader said.

NCT General Secretary Animesh Debbarma said: "His party is also strongly demanding commencement of NRC in Tripura involving all stakeholders, not unilaterally. Politics on NRC must be stopped. We should protect our future generations."

The INPT, IPFT and NCT have also been demanding withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, which is currently under review by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), headed by BJP MP Rajendra Agrawal.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in July 2016 to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

It seeks to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for citizenship and relax requirements of naturalisation for them.

These parties are also demanding introduction of an innerline permit to protect indigenous tribals, restoration of alienated tribal lands and inclusion of tribals' Kokborok language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.

According to media reports, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said everyone in the Tripura had valid papers and there was no demand for a citizen's register on the lines of the NRC in Assam.

Deb, also the Tripura Pradesh President of BJP, expressed confidence that Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal would be able to handle the situation after the final draft of NRC was published on July 30.

Deb, who visited Nagpur on Tuesday and met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, said: "Everything is in order in Tripura and everyone has valid papers. Hence, it is not an issue in Tripura."