Assam Rifles an issue in Tripura tribal council polls

Agartala : Paramilitary Assam Rifles’ role in dealing with decades old terrorism has become a major political issue in the May 3 polls to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).

“We have requested the president, the prime minister, union home minister and Assam Rifles authorities to take action over Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s allegation about the nexus amongst the Assam Rifles, the Congress, two tribal political parties and terrorists before TTAADC elections in 2000,” opposition Congress leader Sudip Roy Barman told reporters here on Monday.

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He also requested Sarkar to disclose details about his claim in one day, otherwise the Congress would announce its strong appropriate actions.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s state president Sudhindra Dasgupta criticised Assam Rifles and its then chief, Brigadier B.K.Ponwar’s role in tackling militants in the state in 2000.

“On behalf of Tripura Nagarik Manch (Tripura citizens’ forum), myself and other personalities also complained against Assam Rifles and Ponwar. The Assam Rifles at the behest of Ponwar did not protect the people affected by terrorists and dealt the militants’ crimes very frivolously,” Dasgupta told reporters.

The election to the 30-seat TTAADC will be held on May 3. Votes will be counted on May 6.

Sarkar, who holds the home portfolio, during his public speech on Saturday at the TTAADC headquarters in Khumulwng (25 km from here), said the TTAADC polls in 2000 was a farce.

There was an unholy nexus among the IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) and INPT (Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura), the Congress, Assam Rifles and terrorist outfits to defeat the Left Front and grab the power, he said.