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Tribals protest renaming of Tripura palace

Press Trust of India  |  Agartala 

A controversy has erupted over the state government's proposed move to rename Ujjayanta Palace, erstwhile royal abode of the Manikya kings, to State Museum.

Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra, a tribal based party, has written to Vice President (who will inaugurate the new museum) protesting against the move, while the current head of royal family said he would launch a signature campaign against the proposed renaming.

INPT objected to the move saying deletion of the word 'Ujjayanta' is aimed at hurting sentiments of tribal populace of the state.

Vice President is scheduled to inaugurate new State Museum housed in the palace on September 25.

INPT president Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl said in his letter to the Vice President that renaming Ujjayanta Palace is likely to have serious effects on the indigenous populace.

"The state government is planning to distort history of the state by the effort. It will have far-reaching consequences," Hrankhawl said.

Pradyot Bikram Kishore Debbarma, current head of Tripura royal family, expressed discontent at the move of the state government as well.

"Ujjayanta palace is a historical and a heritage site. Renaming the building in such a way is illegal as per the Heritage Buildings Act," he claimed.

"I look upon it as a communal move of the state government. This is a deliberate attempt at humiliating us. I am going to launch a mass signature campaign against the decision soon," the royal scion added.

"If the left government in West Bengal could do with Victoria Memorial for ages, I don't see a problem if Tripura does the same for Ujjayanta Palace," Pradyot stated.

Asked about the state government's stand on the issue, Higher Education Secretary Kishore Ambuly said, "It was a government decision to shift the state museum from its former location at Post Office Chowmuhani to the palace. It will be named as Tripura State Museum," he said.

Hrangkhawl proposed that it should be named as 'Tripura Ujjayanta Museum'.

Ujjayanta Palace served as the Tripura state legislative assembly till 2011. It was built by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya during 1899-1901.

The royal family is reported to have spent Rs 10 lakh despite financial constraints at the time. Martin & Burn Company was assigned to build the palace which was completed in 1901.

First Published: Tue, September 17 2013. 18:31 IST