AGARTALA: Leaders of the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), an ally of the ruling BJP, will meet the Prime Minister, Home Minister and other central ministers in Delhi next week to press their statehood demand.
"We would leave Agartala for New Delhi on Sunday to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other central ministers on July 15 and 16," a party leader said on Saturday.
"Besides our main demand of statehood, we would press for other demands for the all round development of the tribals in Tripura," IPFT General Secretary and Forest Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia told IANS.
The IPFT, a tribal-based local party, has been agitating since 2009 for a separate state to be carved out by upgrading the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura's 10,491 sq-km area, home to over 12,16,000 people.
Tripura's oldest tribal-based political party, the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), as well as the dominant ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the opposition Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Front have, however, been opposed to the IPFT's separate state demand.
IPFT spokesman and the party's Assistant General Secretary Mangal Debbarma said that a 15-member delegation led by party President and Revenue Minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma would also urge the Prime Minister and Home Minister to give more autonomy and power to the TTAADC.
"The Central government had earlier constituted a high-level committee to recommend various measures for the socio-economic development of the tribals. We are in the dark about the implementation of the recommendations of the committee," Debbarma told IANS.
The IPFT's other demands include the inclusion of tribals' 'Kokboroka' language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India and introduction of the Roman script for 'Kokborok'.
The IPFT contested the recent Lok Sabha elections and the ongoing panchayat polls against the BJP.
"We are contesting the elections separately to highlight our basic issues especially the statehood demand. Majority tribals are most backward in all respect, they need much more financial, social and administrative support," the IPFT President told IANS.
The IPFT had held agitations in Delhi and Tripura in support of its separate 'Twipraland' (full-fledged state for the Tripuris or indigenous tribals) and other demands.