ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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CPI(M)'s Record in Tripura

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Please permit me to comment on Mahadev Chakravarti’s article on the recent Tripura ADC election (EPW, July 22). I spent the last about four years of my work as an IPS officer in Tripura (April 1993-May 1997), first as the Additional DG (Intelligence), and then as the DG of the State Institute of Public Administration and Rural Development (SIPARD). I had, as it were, a ringside view.

The pro-CPI(M) intellectual in the author unwittingly reveals his pro-Bengali bias as well when he lets fall his admiration for the Tripura State Rifles (TSR), a state government paramilitary police force, which he says, has displayed “death defying courage and commitment to combat terrorism” (p 2615). My experience is otherwise. The tribal people of the state view the TSR as essentially a pro-Bengali force with a frequent tendency to carry out depredations against the tribals and to commit serious human rights violations against them. It would be interesting if the author were to look into the social composition of this force and assess the number of tribals recruited to it. Incidents of violation of human rights, involving the TSR, as well as some central paramilitary forces, were reported during my term, but the fuddy-duddies in the CPI(M)-dominated Left Front government displayed a deplorable lack of courage to initiate any disciplinary action. During a recent visit, a top tribal officer in the state reported to me an incident in which a Bengali-dominated TSR detachment, located in an interior tribal area, had forced the tribal colleagues in the unit to go on leave and, in their absence, had raided and set fire to a number of tribal habitations. Such incidents call for immediate enquiry and disciplinary action of deterrent rapidity but the Tripura government has not been guilty of any such misdemeanour! I am afraid the tribal people of Tripura have far more confidence in the central paramilitary forces than in the TSR.

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