Political violence in Tripura: A comprehensive study

While media got interested in Tripura after the BJP replaced the Manik Sarkar government, the region has seen political violence for centuries

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In India

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Agartala: Tripura’s BJP-IPFT government is the first State administration to approach the issue of political violence, which is rampant also in West Bengal while it manifests only during elections in most other States, institutionally. The State has decided to examine all cases of political violence in which family members of those killed are seeking proper investigation so that culprits are punished.

The government has formed a three-member probe committee headed by Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath which will provide its recommendations after the completion of the investigations, a government notification said.

Besides Nath, the panel has Law Department Principal Secretary DM Jamatia as a member and Home department Additional Secretary Devananda Reang as the convener.

However, the CPI(M), which was at the helm in the State for 25 years before the BJP-led government came to power in March 2018, fears that the panel has been formed to harass the party members. It believes the panel will not look into the incidents of violence that took place in the past one year.

“The State government has decided to examine all cases in which the victims died due to political violence long before and the family members of the victims are claiming for proper investigation of these cases so that the actual culprits are punished as per provision of law,” said the notification issued by Reang on Thursday.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had appealed to all parties in the State to stop violence and said his government would take stern action against the perpetrators irrespective of their political identity.

Deb had said 186 cases of violence were registered in the State after the Election Commission announced the Lok Sabha election schedule in March.

During the 2013 and 2018 Assembly elections, when the CPI(M) was in power, a total of 245 and 439 cases of poll-related violence were registered respectively, the chief minister had said.

Deb’s statement came after CPI(M) leader and former chief minister Manik Sarkar met him on 28 May and urged him to stop violence allegedly unleashed by BJP supporters since the BJP-IPFT government came to power.

CPI(M) State committee member Pabitra Kar Saturday claimed that this committee was formed to harass its workers.

“We also do not think that the recent cases of violence will come under the ambit of the committee. Unchecked terror by BJP supporters are continuing in the State,” said Kar, also secretary of CPI(M) West Tripura district committee.

Political violence in Tripura: Fact check

While the national media got interested in Tripura only after the BJP came to power in the State two years ago, replacing the Manik Sarkar government of the CPI(M), the region has seen political violence since the medieval era. Here’s a chart by police veteran K Saleem Ali from an article published in 2011:

Sl.No.PeriodSocial eventEconomic eventPolitical event
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)
1.1400-1563 A.DKingdom with demographic fault line;

Bengal literature encourages.

Vaishnavism adopted.

Settlement of Bengali cultivators to reclaim the land.Active conflict with neighbors on the issue of expansion of the Kingdom.

 

2.1563-1783 ADEmployment of Muslim cultivators.

Migration of Mogs from Chittagong.

Adoption of Bengali as court language.

Migration of Manipuri population.

Revolt by Mog community.

Reclamation of land to increase revenue collection.

 

 

 

 

Increase of Tax.

Loss of Chittagong and Comilla to Mughals.

Feud with Nawab of Bengali on Chakla – Roshnabad.

Contact with East India Company on Zamindari of Chakla-Roshnabad.

Closer contact with British Empire.

3.1783-1900 A,D,Revolt by Tripuri community.

Revolt by Reang community.

Revolt by Jamatia community.

Conversion of Jamatia community to Vaishnavanism.

Appointment of Bengali administrators for increasing tax collection.

Settlement of Plain Landers, Brahmins, Muslim s & Govt. officers.

Tenancy Act, 1885-86;

Banning of Jhum Cultivation in 1887.

 

Kingdoms get closer to British empire.

Politics in Kings family on succession.

Appointment of British political agent 1871-78.

Appointment of Bengali political agent 1878-1890

Introduction of Cr.P.C and CPC;

4.1900 – 1949 A.D.Exodus of Bengali population into Tripura in

1911 and 1921 AD.

Tripura Rajya Jana Mangal Samity 1937 Tripura Rajya Gana Parisad formed 1937.

Jana Siksha Samity started movement for education of tribals between 1945-48.

Revolt in Golaghati in 1948.

Revolt in Padmabill in 1949,

3861 sq. miles declared as Reserve Forest.

16-Point Socio-Economic Demand & 20-Point Political Demand.

Fall in tribal literacy.

Praja Mandal Act, 1938 passed.

Ban on both the parties in 1940.

Political movement banned in 1948.

 

 

Tripura Rajya Mukti Parisad was formed by the Communist in May, 1948 to protect the interest of tribals.

5.1950-1963 ADInflux of refugees in 1950 leads to 25% increase in population.

Ban on Communist Party lifted in 1951.

Agitation for statehood stepped up on 5th Aug, 1953.

Communist Party takes over social reform of tribals in 1954.

Rehabilitation of 70,000 families completed in 1960.

GMP demands for full fledged statehood in 1961.

 

Tribal population decreases from 50% to 35% in 1951.

 

 

 

 

 

Govt. of India policy on the settlement of refugees not cleared till 1955.

 

TLR Act, 1960.

TLR Act amended in 1964.

Debar Commission suggesting tribal compact area in development.

Decision to merge with Union of India in April, 1947;

Death of the King on 17th May,1947, Diwan appointed to run affairs of the state.

Declared Part-6 state in 1951 under Chief Commissioner.

Ban on Communist Party lifted.

Consular advisers appointed in 1952, Left wins both the Parliament seats and the Territorial Council.

Tripura territorial council in 1956. Congress wins by nomination.

Declared Union Territory in 1963

6.1964-2008 ADDemand for ADC floated by TUJS in 1969.

Influx in 1972.

Communist Party spearheads demands for ADC.

TUJS spearheads pro-tribal demand 1977-80.

Amra Bangali spearheads of pro-non-tribal demand 1977-80.

1980 – Riots.

 

Surrender of ATPLO in 1983.

 

 

 

Killing of non-tribals by TNV increases in 1988.

 

All Tripura Tribal Force formed in 1990.

All Tripura Tiger Force formed in 1993.

ADC proposed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TNV accord in 1988.

ST seats increased from 17 to 20.

Surrender of ATTF in 1993.

TUJS formed in 1967.

Granted statehood in 1972.

Left comes to power in 1977.

ADC Bill passed in 1977 approved by Parliament in 1982.

TNV formed in 1977.

 

ATPLO formed in 1980.

CPM comes to power in 1983.

ADC under Sixth Schedule in April, 1985.

Congress comes to power in 1988.

NLFT formed on 14th April 1989.

 

 

Left Front wins in 1993 election.

INPT wins in the ADC election, 2000.*

Large number of surrenders took place after 2000 A.D. Details are given in ANNEXURE-III.

Political violence: Annexure II

Statistics of development*

YearGDPPopulation in ‘00Per Capita(in Rs.)Total Budget(figure in crores)Plan Non-PlanJFMC Beneficiaries(ST families)Rubber Plantation(ST families)
(1)(2)(3)(4)(5) (6)(7)(8)
1999-20004866733184015285538 12001094
2000-20015499193200017185487 14946301801
2001-20026370073206019869634 17301066
2002-20036733253265020623652 1778671
2003-20047550593307022832682 19681082
2004-20058296853349024774706 1972785
2005-200693884133900276941021 23521001
2006-2007103222334320300761151 227089761977
2007-2008108214334740311501370 25352027
  • Courtesy: Department of Economic & Statistics, Government of Tripura
  • ** Land restoration: 29.148 petitions for land restoration were received; 20,034 petitions were rejected and 9082 were settled in which 7347 acres were restored.

Annexure III

Extremism-related crime, 1995-2008***

YearInci

dent

Civilian

Killed

Civilian

Injured

SF

Killed

SF

Injured

Persons

Kidnap

ped

Persons

Relea

sed

Persons

Killed

Persons

untraced

Ext

Killed

Ext

Arrest

Enco

unter

Am

bush

Arms

Looted

Arms

Reco

vered

Ext

Surren

dered

MainColla
199554591683121367323212330257563202710+1412196
19963328658302029826617151636752925214+119638
19972421676949291581271714157020820173315+61533
199836618014023244012993567164721422071113+4602
1999428163103462648030948123234646039133827+3131
20006102523831822542327441713715886465051431+87100
2001270144134313517712019383416953565072318+38342
20022071205643191591061934215228244053316+16112
20033802051143959216144274555162559108083825+16251
2004210704748141055506445210136782104031+17322
20051523546111065520112205129765040610+16136
20061212017142638180416205514958070617+14147
20071291413070372510417205215041040514+25240
20088608670302351916179832300112+29438

*** Courtesy: SCRB Tripura Police

Tripura Police strength

YearStrengthYearStrengthYearStrength
19744,43219868,801199812,478
19754,854198710,448199913,236
19765,374198810,527200013,884
19775,506198910,819200116,056
19785,790199010,768200217,766
19795,910199110,767200318,652
19806,421199211,158200418,701
19816,654199311,574200518,412
19827,302199411,574200619,579
19837,475199511,611200720,057
19848,584199611,800200821,477
19858,793199712,359200923,330
  • The deployment of CRPF varied from 14 to 5 Battalions during the period 1995 – 2009; maximum being during 2000 A.D.;
  • The deployment of Assam Rifles varied from 2 to 4 Battalions during the period 1995 to 2009.
  • Strength of Home Guards which was 2886 in the year 1995 decreased to 1575 in 2009.
  • Strength of Special Police Officers raised in the year 2000 increase from 150 to 3778 in the year 2009.

**** Courtesy: Tripura Police

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