People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 05, 2006
Massive Rally of Tribal People
A view of the rallyists in Agartala
THE firm and steady footsteps of the indigenous tribal people who marched in Agartala town from different directions and congregated in a mammoth rally at stable ground at the call of Tripura Rajya Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (GMP) on October 28, 2006 rocked the capital city of Agartala. This massive rally of the tribal masses in the recent years was a culmination of a month long campaign movement of GMP on a 17-point charter of demands adopted by the GMP’s Central Conference held in May this year. The charter was submitted to the chief minister of the state. The rally was presided over by the GMP president Narayan Rupini.
After receiving the memorandum of the GMP amidst laud applauses from the crowd, Manik Sarkar, chief minister hailed the rallyists as well as the GMP for the demands they had charted up. Manik Sarkar declared that each and every demand in the charter bears the relevance to the present pace of developmental activities of the Left Front government in the state. Out of seventeen demands, ten fully and three partly lie under the jurisdiction of the central government and the state government is responsible for implementing the rest 4 demands, Manik Sarkar informed. The charter of demands is useful for state’s development including socio-economic upliftment of the tribal people. It will help in cementing the ethnic amity between the tribals and nontribals of the state, a prerequisite for the state’s advancement. Manik Sarkar said that Ganamukti Parishad once again proved that they don’t differentiate the tribal interests with those of the general people of the state. Nor are they swayed with any sectarian outlook of tribal chauvinism. This is the basic difference of the Ganamukti Parishad from that of the other tribal organisations working in different states of the north-eastern region, Manik Sarkar asserted. Unlike other tribal organisations who strive to keep the masses confined to narrow parochialism, GMP has been maintaining its high tradition of widening and strengthening the democratic movement, Manik Sarkar added.
Narrating in detail the Left Front government’s package programme for intensive socio-economic development of the tribals in the state, Manik Sarkar said ‘we have resolved to spend 50 per cent of the annual allocation, if possible more than that, in the tribal areas. It is not the show of mercy to the tribals, nor it is an electoral dole, it is their legitimate right,’ he said. Those who are shedding crocodile tears for the tribal interest were once in the helm of state power. They did nothing for infrastructural development. Communication, electricity, roads, agriculture, education – in all sectors they failed to make an advancement. Rather, instead of providing food the so-called champions of the tribals fed the hungry tribal mother with bullet-shots during the Congress-TUJS semi-fascist regime, Manik Sarkar added.
Terming the extremist groups as traitors of their own community, Manik Sarkar said that the huge fund collected by the extremists through extortion from the poor tribal people is spent in extravagant lavish amusement in 5-star hotels in Dhaka and Chittagong. But a big section of these misguided youths have realised that they were pawns in the hands of the international vested interests. So they are trying to escape and even risking the possibility of being killed they are surrendering to the police and returning to the mainstream. Reiterating his call for surrender, Manik Sarkar said that there is no binding that all must surrender to the state government. If anybody wishes, we may arrange discussion with centre for surrender, he informed.
Chief Executive member of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, Aghore Debbarma highlighted the bright tradition of the GMP’s long struggle for emancipation of the tribal community and protecting the ethnic amity in the state since fifties. Referring to the INPT demand for 80 per cent tribal reservation in ADC administration, with which it is provoking a section of the youth to gain cheap popularity, Aghore Debbarma said, INPT knows it very well that with the Supreme Court order on barring reservation beyond 50 per cent, it is just not possible to fulfil this demand. If they were at all sincere for the tribal interests, why didn’t they implement this during their tenure in ADC, Aghore Debbarma quipped. It is historically proved that Left Front is the only tool for preserving the entity of the tribals, their culture, development of their language and above all the socio-economic upliftment amidst all odds, he asserted.
Niranjan Debbarma, secretary of GMP said that while the extremists are destroying road communication, railway construction, ONGC exploration, blocking the running of educational institutions in the tribal areas and creating blockade in all kinds of developmental work in the state, it is surprising that the INPT, the so called champions of tribal interests have not a single word to condemn the ruinous activities of the extremists. The president and vice president of the GMP Central Committee Narayan Rupini and Bajuban Riyan also addressed the rally.