After Assam, an agitation for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is gaining momentum in Tripura with the state's oldest tribal based party, the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), on Saturday holding a demonstration here asking for its introduction in the BJP ruled state.
On Thursday, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), the junior partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), organised a huge public gathering over its demands for a separate state and introduction of the NRC in Tripura.
A rival faction of the IPFT - IPFT (Tipraha) -- also held a sit-in demonstration on the same issues two days back.
"We have held a demonstration with more than one thousand tribal men and women here today (Saturday) to press our nine-point demands. Of the demands, introduction of the NRC in Tripura and more constitutional power to the TTAADC (Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council) are the main demands," INPT General Secretary Jagadhish Debbarma told the media.
He said that INPT's other demands include withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, introduction of inner-line permit in the TTAADC areas and inclusion of tribals' Kokborok language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
"To press our demands, a delegation of INPT leaders would soon go to New Delhi to meet the Registrar General of India and central ministers and would apprise them about our demands," the tribal leader said.
Another tribal based party National Conference of Tripura is also demanding introduction of the NRC in Tripura and withdrawal of the Bill.
Introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016, the Bill seeks to enable Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh without valid travel documents or those whose valid documents expired in recent years to acquire Indian citizenship through the process of naturalisation.
Many parties in the northeastern region are also opposing the Bill, which is now under the scrutiny of a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
All the tribal-based parties in the state are agitating for an NRC updation exercise in the state with 1951 as the cut-off year.
The INPT, to highlight its demands, had earlier sought permission from the police to hold a demonstration in Agartala since June 28, but the police refused to give consent forcing the party to move the High Court, which on August 13 allowed it to organise the sit-in demonstrations.
The BJP's junior ally IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for a separate state to be carved out by upgrading the TTAADC, which has a jurisdiction over two-thirds of the state's 10,491 sq km area, home to over 12,16,000 people.