Talks between the state government and the agitating Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) failed today as the outfit refused to withdraw its road and rail blockade at Baramura hill range in West Tripura district, about 30 km from here. A nine-member delegation of IPFT headed by its president N C Debbarma today met a delegation of the state government headed by Chief Secretary Sanjib Ranjan for talks to break the impasse over the blockade, but decided to continue its indefinite agitation programme. "An administrative team headed by the chief secretary requested us to withdraw the movement on the plea that it is causing problems for the common people. But, the proposal was not acceptable to us because they did not agree to discuss our demand for a separate state.
We said our movement will continue," Debbarma told reporters. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told reporters after the meeting that he has called up union home minister Rajnath Singh and informed him about the outcome of the discussion. "I have informed the union home minister about today's meeting and told him that since creation of any new state is at the discretion of the Centre, the issue should be handled at their end," Sarkar said. Apart from the chief secretary, the state government was represented in the talks by home secretary Santanu Singh, DGP A K Shukla, additional DGP S S Chaturvedi, DM (West) Milind Ramteke, IG (law and order) K V Sreejesh and SP (West) Abhijeet Saptarshi. During the meeting, the state government also pointed out that only the Centre can initiate a move to create a separate state and a bill in this regard needs to be passed in both the Parliament and state Assembly, as mandated by the Constitution (Article 3). The IPFT delegation, however, said they will not relent on the issue as it is a popular demand of the tribal people. They also said that two of their leaders are camping in Delhi to hold discussions with the Centre on the matter. "Until we know what transpires in Delhi we cannot withdraw the agitation unilaterally," Debbarma said, adding doors for fresh round of talks will remain open. "Two of our leaders are scheduled to meet union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju tomorrow. We can further discuss the issue with state government only after knowing the outcome of the tomorrow's meeting," he said.
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