‘It will violate peace accord’: Former Tripura rebels oppose Citizenship Amendment Bill

Debraj Deb
Returnee rebel Ranjit Debbarma stated that if the centre failed to agree to the demand, Tripura United Indigenous People’s Council (TUIPC), a joint body of 48 returnee insurgent organizations, would file a petition with the Supreme Court of India.

In a press conference held in Agartala Thursday, returnee rebel Ranjit Debbarma stated that Citizenship Amendment Bill will violate ATTF Peace Accord since it would make way for legalising stay of illegal immigrants in the Indian Union, against Article 2 (b) of the rebel outfit’s peace accord which was signed in 1993.

Debbarma, who was arrested in Bangladesh in 2013, said as per 1993 All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF) Peace Accord, Government of Tripura assured to take action against foreign nationals, restore alienated tribal land, include tribal majority villages in Autonomous District Council (ADC) areas, introduce Inner Line Permit (ILP), set up Village Police Force (VPF) for the Tripura ADC areas, increase number of seats for ST candidates in TTAADC and higher scope of government employment for tribals.

“If CAB is implemented, it would violate section 2 (b) of the ATTF peace accord, which says ‘action would be taken in respect of sending back all Bangladesh foreign nationals whohave come to Tripura after 25th March, 1971 and are not in possession of valid documents authorizing their presence in Tripura’. We demand that the Government of India implements CAB except Tripura and other Northeast Indian states,” Ranjit said.

He also stated that if the centre failed to agree to the demand, Tripura United Indigenous People’s Council (TUIPC), a joint body of 48 returnee insurgent organizations, would file a petition with the Supreme Court of India.

Tribal armed insurgency, which swelled between 1980 and late 2000s in Tripura, largely came down during erstwhile Manik Sarkar government’s rule due to lucrative offers of an immediate grant of Rs. 1.5 lakh, vocational training for 36 months and a stipend of Rs.2000/- per month during training. Minor crime cases against those who were successfully rehabilitated were also assured to be withdrawn.

ATTF was formed as All Tripura Tribal Force (ATTF) on July 11, 1990 by a group of former Tripura National Volunteers (TNV) cadres under the leadership of Ranjit Debbarma. Though TNV surrendered arms as per a peace accord with the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988, the Ranjit Debbarma faction dissociated themselves and rechristened itself as ATTF.

ATTF surrendered en masse in 1993 as per ATTF Peace Accord but the Ranjit Debbarma faction continued insurgency as All Tripura Tiger Force till Ranjit was arrested in Bangladesh in 2012.