Shah to meet NE parties on CAA on Friday

NEW DELHI / AGARTALA:

Home Minister Amit Shah will meet in New Delhi on Friday leaders of tribal-based parties of north-eastern states, including the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) ally the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

The IPFT, which resumed anti-CAA stir after a month, continued its sit-in at Khumulwng, headquarters of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), for the 11th day on Thursday.

In Shillong, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said he would lead a delegation of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) to meet Shah and urge him to promulgate the inner line permit (ILP) in remaining areas of the state.

The Meghalaya Assembly on December 19 unanimously adopted a resolution, requesting the Centre to promulgate the ILP. The resolution and the state gazette notification have been communicated to the Centre.

"We are in Delhi for the past few days, but are yet to meet the Home Minister due to his prior engagements outside Delhi. The meeting will be on Friday," JMACAB leader and Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) General Secretary Jagadhish Debbarma told IANS over phone from Delhi.

A four-member IPFT delegation, led by party chief Narendra Chandra Debbarma and General Secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia left Agartala on Thursday to attend the meeting. Debbarma is Revenue and Fisheries Minister and Jamatia the Tribal Welfare and Forest Minister in Tripura.

The IPFT and the JMACAB and other tribal-based parties in Tripura have been demanding that the state be kept out of the CAA's ambit. Earlier on December 12, all the tribal-based Tripura parties had a meeting with the Union Home Minister.

The IPFT has been demanding since 2009 creation of a separate state for tribals by upgrading the TTAADC and inclusion of Kokborok, a tribal language, in the 8th schedule of the Constitution.

The TTAADC has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura's 10,491 sqkm area, home to over 12,16,000 people, 90 per cent of whom are tribals.

"At December 12 meeting, Shah said he would look into our issues after Christmas, or would hold another meeting with us. But nothing has happened," the IPFT chief said.

Before leaving for Delhi, Debbarma said despite the CAA and border management measures, including fencing, infiltration continue unabated. "The influx from Bangladesh has put a burden on our resources, demography and economy. It would further aggravate the joblessness," he said.

The Tripura Rajya Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (TRUGP), tribal front of the CPI-M, has been demanding that N-E states be kept out the CAA's purview.