Ruling CPI(M) has launched a counter offensive against ‘separate state’ demand of the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT). The party has decided to reach out people, especially the tribals, over the ‘divisive agitation that would destroy peace and encourage extremist elements’.

While Tripura faces heat over Telangana fallout CPI(M) has the reason to worry as it enjoys overwhelming support of the tribal community. A recent IPFT rally in Agartala voiced the demand for a separate tribal state with areas under the tribal autonomous district council constituted under the sixth schedule of the constitution in 1981.

“IPFT is a mask of the extremists. The demand for a separate state is aimed at creating fresh trouble in the peaceful state”, CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar told newsmen to brief decisions of the two day meeting of the state committee that ended on Sunday.

Mr.Dhar added that people of the state reject any issue of extremist nature and party would fight the IPFT politically. He wanted main opposition Congress and its tribal ally Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) to clear position on separate state demand.

“Our internal reports suggest many INPT workers joined the IPFT rally”, he claimed. Mr.Dhar alleged it was IPFT which hijacked elections to the tribal autonomous district council in 2001 with support of the underground extremists.

IPFT which does not carry much weight in state’s political arena received a shot in arm by raising separate state demand. Large attendance of tribal students and youths at the rally in Agartala caused a matter of concern for all political parties, civil society and security establishments.

“We oppose the demand of bifurcation of Tripura. This is absurd and against peaceful coexistence of different communities” Congress vice president Asish Saha opined on Monday.

CPI(M) has reportedly engaged its tribal front, Upajati Gana Mukti Parishad (UGMP), to use all organisation power to counter IPFT in tribal localities. “IPFT is working against unity and peace. You must remain alert”, senior UGMP leader and tribal welfare minister Aghore Debbarma said at a meeting in Sonamura of West Tripura.

Tribal populace constitutes 32 percent in a state of less than four billion people and they are mostly residing in Tribal autonomous district council areas. The areas however scattered and do not have a common boundary.