BJP's ally in Tripura strikes discordant note on NRC

State Tribal Welfare Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia. Image courtesy Twitter

The Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), an ally of the ruling BJP in the north-eastern state, has raised a case for a revision of the citizens' register to safeguard the state's demography, despite Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb's assertion that there is no need for it.

State Tribal Welfare Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia, who is also the IPFT general secretary, said he was hoping for a revision of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) since the demographic situation in Assam and Tripura was "more or less similar".

"We have already demanded a review of the NRC in the state. We had submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Home Affairs before the February 18 Assembly election. Assam and Tripura face more or less the same situation in terms of demographic balance," he said, adding that the IPFT was planning to organise a mega rally of tribals near Agartala to press its demand.

Soon after the publication of the final draft of the NRC in Assam on July 30, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had said there was no demand for a citizens' register on the lines of the NRC in Assam as "everything is in order in Tripura and everyone has valid papers".

Around 40.07 lakh applicants did not find a place in the final draft of the NRC in Assam, which is touted to be a proof of the Assamese identity.

The IPFT is a regional party demanding statehood for the indigenous people of Tripura. It is an ally of the ruling BJP and had secured eight seats in the 60-member state Assembly in the February polls.

The BJP had won 36 seats in the Assembly election.

Echoing the IPFT's stance, another major tribal party -- the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) -- has also demanded a review of the citizens' register in the state.

INPT president Bijoy Hrankhawl said they had demanded a revision of the NRC two months ago, following the party's central committee meeting.

"To get the revision of the NRC is our constitutional right. The original citizens of the state suffer due to illegal infiltration. Being in proximity of Bangladesh, Tripura is the corridor of infiltration. We are not against anybody, but we want to safeguard our people," he told PTI.

Almost a third of Tripura's 37 lakh population are tribals.

INPT vice-president Ananta Debbarma said the party would soon organise a massive rally at Khumulwng, about 25 from here, where over one lakh people would assemble in support of NRC revision in the state.

"More than one lakh tribals will gather at Khumulwng to demand NRC revision. This is necessary to safeguard and protect the socio-economic interests of the indigenous people of the state," he told reporters. 

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BJP's ally in Tripura strikes discordant note on NRC

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