AGARTALA: Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on Sunday said that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured him that the central government would look after the issue of the ongoing road and rail blockade by tribal party IPFT to push their demand for a separate state.
However, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) refused to withdraw its week-long blockade.
"I have apprised the Union Home Minister today (Sunday) about the blockade of the state's main lifeline, National Highway-8, and lone railway line by the IPFT . Rajnath Singh assured me the issue will be looked into.
"I have also told the Home Minister that due to the blockade of the arterial national highway and solitary railway line, people of the state are facing serious problems in getting essentials and other basic items from outside the state," said Sarkar at a press conference, adding he requested Rajnath Singh to talk to the IPFT leaders.
He said the Left Front government has, on a number of occasions, made it clear that there is no question of division of the state, and the assembly has passed a unanimous resolution against the IPFT's demand for a separate state.
"The state government has earlier on three occasions appealed to the IPFT to withdraw its blockade. I hope the IPFT leaders call off their stir after realising the hardship to the people," he said.
Earlier on Sunday, Chief Secretary Sanjeev Ranjan and Director General of Police Akhil Kumar Shukla, along with other leaders, talked to a delegation of IPFT and requested them to withdraw the blockade.
However, the IPFT leaders, led by party President Narenda Chandra Debbarma, asserted that they would carry on their agitation till the central government gave a positive assurance about their demand.
IPFT General Secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia and youth wing President Dhananjoy Tripura have been camping in New Delhi since Thursday. They are expected to meet Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Monday.
"The IPFT leaders told our officials that they would decide the future course of action after their meeting with central representatives," said Sarkar, who also holds the home portfolio.
The IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for a separate state carved out by upgrading the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas.
They stepped up their agitations during the past three years aiming to put pressure on the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led government before the February 2018 Assembly elections.
TTAADC constitutes two-thirds of Tripura's 10,491 sq km area and has nearly a third (12,16,465) of the state's 37 lakh population.