Tripura CM includes Opposition in ‘peace move’

Even as the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government manoeuvres to broadbase the responsibility for getting militants back to the mainstream, the opposition Congress and the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) seem to have pre-empted what may well be the intentions behind Sarkar’s latest move to convince the ultras, this time through statewide all-party peace rallies: a basic game of political one-upmanship.

“This is an opportunity for the INPT to prove their credentials since they deny any links with the militant groups of the state,” Sarkar said. Expectedly, while the Congress party is yet to decide whether to participate in the rallies that are slated for mid-July, the INPT, the state’s only political party comprising indigenous Tripuris, and one that Sarkar has in the past accused of colliding with militants, is eyeing the government’s latest move with suspicion. ”We are in favour of peace and progress but first we need to know what the government intends to achieve through them,” says Nagendra Jamatiya, vice president of the INPT. Adds said Tapas Dey, vice president of the state Congress unit: "We were not consulted by the state government regarding the matter. Let us get to know the details first.”

For one, Sarkar has stuck to making the routine rehabilitation-package offer after becoming chief minister for the second time in March last year, despite the fact that similar efforts during his previous tenure had failed to cut ice with the militants, members of the indigenous Tripuri community that has been reduced to a minority over the years, a phenomenon largely blamed on the illegal influx of people from Bangladesh. It is an issue that Sarkar is not willing to consider as a cause for the militancy that has plagued the state ever since.

This time round, the proposed all-party peace rallies that are to be held in all the 38 block headquarters of the state would also include relatives and family members of militants, Anil Sarkar, state information minister said.

By Amit Ray Chaudhuri (