Citizenship bill will violate peace accord between Tripura govt and ATTF, says ex-militant leader Ranjit Debbarma
BJP MP Rebati Kumar Tripura on Monday claimed that he "received threats" from the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) for voting in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Parliament.
Expressing concern, the legislator, from tribal reserve East Tripura constituency, said he received NLFTs letter five days ago and was threatened of dire consequences for voting in favour of the citizenship legislation.
"They threatened me of dire consequences for betraying the cause of the tribals in the state by voting in favour of CAB in Parliament. I am an MP from a party, which imposed a whip for voting in favour of CAB. Everyone knows what could be the consequence if I had defied the party whip," he told reporters.
Tripura, a first time MP and also a prominent tribal leader, said the concern of the indigenous people to be further reduced to minority is genuine, but claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) would not affect them.
The tribals in the state were reduced to minority after migration from then east Pakistan after partition of the country in 1947.
However, a tribal council christened as the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council came into being in the eighties to safeguard and protect the interests of the tribals.
The tribal council area constitutes two-third of the state territory and home to tribals, who form one-third of the states estimated 40 lakh population.
"Illegal immigration should not be allowed to continue anymore. There was influx of people to our state for last 70 years. But in the CAA, it was clearly mentioned that the law would not be applicable in sixth schedule areas. So, it can be said that the interest of the tribals in the state are protected," he said.
Asked whether he is concerned about NLFT's alleged threat, the MP said, "It is a matter of concern, because people are aware about their past violent activities. I would meet the chief minister as well as Home Minister of the state, Biplab Kumar Deb, tomorrow and apprise him about the threat from the insurgent outfit," Tripura said.
He said that he would not "bow down to the threat" and would continue to work to protect the interest of the tribals of the state.
The purported letter sent by NLFT, signed by self-styled NLFT secretary general D Uomthai reads, "Your vote in the Lok Sabha on December 10, 2019 in favour of the CAB, although a single vote would not have changed the outcome, in principle is considered to constitute a vote to let outside voice dictate our daily lives."
"The Boroks of the state, particularly the voters from the East Tripura LS constituency have every right to ask you as to why, in your conduct as MP, you have failed to preserve, protect, defend the aspiration the people and abused the mandate, faith and trust reposed in you? It also threatened to socially boycott him and declare him unfit to hold office," it read.
The NLFT was incepted in March, 1989 with the agenda of making a sovereign and free Tripura.
However, police said the outfit has still has its base in the neighbouring Bangladesh, but is reduced to a weak group after so many splits, surrender of huge number of cadres, stringent police action and crackdown on them by the security forces of Bangladesh in their base camp areas in Chittagong Hill Tract Areas and in Sylhet district.