Investigation begins against tribal rights activists

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Agartala, Oct 1 (UNI) The Tripura police has launched an investigation against two newly-formed tribal rights organisations, which were campaigning, among other things, for the land rights.

Police today said that the tribal rights organisation Borok Dopha has criticised Tripura's merger with the Indian union on October 15, 1949, and uttered words against the democratic set-up.

At the same time, another non-political forum Tripura Tribal Lands Restoration Campaign Committee(TTLRCC) demanded implementation of section 244(A) of the Indian Constitution, which had set the provision of establishing the state within the state in lieu of autonomous district council for tribals, police stated.

Intelligence sources here said besides tribals, some influential non-tribals of the state and outsiders as well as two external agencies were identified, who were allegedly trying to mobilise poor tribals to create chaos before the February 2008 elections.

''We are monitoring the development and keeping a close watch on the activists,'' said a senior intelligence official.

With protest from different sections of the society, the president of Borok Dopha, Rajendrajit Debbarma said, ''We did not consider the implications of our stand and now we wish to clarify that we have no intention of challenging the sanctity of the merger; nor have we ever said the merger should be undone after 58 years.'' He added that they were only concerned with the social aspects of the tribal problem and against the indulgence of tribal youths.

Meanwhile, a TTLRCC pamphlet said Tripura's last king Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya had set aside 3,000 square km of land exclusively for the tribals in two instalments in 1931 and 1943, but the Tripura Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act 1960 had disbanded the reserved land.

It has also stated that the second amendment of the Act had legitimised the illegal transfer of land up to January 1, 1969 while Indian Forest Act 1927 and Central Forest Act 1980 have also dealt serious blows to tribal rights to land.

As a result, they were forced to demand tribal rights on forest lands, disbanding of joint forest management committees and restoration of alienated tribal land on priority basis.

TTLRCC has highlighted two important issues - disband the Joint Forest Management(JFM) and stop interference in the land used by the forest dwellers and give them their right over forest land, which is now under the department of forest.


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