Tripura Timeline 2018



January 8

In the run upto State Assembly elections NLFT claimed that allegations that they have pledged support to IPFT was baseless. The NLFT 'president' D. Yamrok stated that NLFT would not support any political party in election.

January 11

Amra Bangali (We the Bengali) announced its decision to contest the coming Assembly elections in Tripura. The party held a rally in Agartala (West Tripura District) to protest against what it called the atrocities on 'indigenous Bengali people in Assam' and condemned attempts to create separate 'Tipraland'.

January 12

UMHA will send 300 companies of CAPF's for the Assembly elections in February. The CAPF contingent will comprise of BSF, CRPF and ITBP. The first lot comprising 25 companies of CAPF arrived on January 12 while 50 more companies will reach Tripura by January 20. Additionally 12 battalions of TSR will also be available for election duties.

The state already has over 35,000 security force personnel comprising BSF, CRPF and TSR. During the last Assembly elections in February 2013, around 20,000 CAPF personnel were deployed.

January 14

Six teenaged Rohingya Muslims have been arrested in Tripura's Dharmanagar in North Tripura District, bordering Assam. Tripura Police stated that the youngsters, all from Myanmar and aged around 18 years, entered Tripura from Bangladesh on January 12 and were trying to go Hyderabad by train.

January 16

A senior intelligence officer stated that NLFT has around 13-15 hideouts in Bangladesh. The camps exist in various areas such as Khagracherri, Bandarban and Segunbagan in CHT.

Additionally the cadre strength of NLFT is estimated at about 60-70 militants with its 'army chief' Sachin Debbarma, a former ATTF militant.

The intelligence official also added that NLFT leadership is in such a pathetic condition, that they will not be able to play any role during the Assembly elections. Another official confirmed the fragile condition of the outfit saying that the BGB has already established some BOPs in CHT.

January 25

An NLFT militant identified as Uttam Debbarma alias Uphil surrendered at Dhalai District. He surrendered with an automatic rifle.

February 4

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on February 4 stated that militant activities in northeast India have been checked due to Bangladesh's great help and support. The Minister stated that 'Bangladesh's immense help and support facilitated India to tame the terrorist activities in northeastern states. Our relation with Bangladesh now at best place'.

February 8

An individual identified as Naresh Chakma , was arrested with three .22 caliber pistols and 500 rounds of live ammunition at the railway station in the Badharghat area of Agartala in West Tripura District. According to authorities, the arrested individual stated that he was about to sell the weapons across the border in Bangladesh.

February 10

MoS for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju stated that GoI has revised stipend amount and fixed deposit for the surrendered militants in Northeast. The new surrender scheme will come into effect from April 2018. The monthly allowance would be increased from INR 3,000 to INR 6,000. Moreover, the militants will be given a relief amount of INR 400,000 which was earlier INR 1, 50,000.

February 14

CM Manik Sarkar stated that NLFT was active in Tripura and Bangladesh. He also alleged that IPFT was the fašade of the NLFT. IPFT has been demanding Twipraland, a separate state for indigenous communities

February 15

Three crude bombs were recovered from Uttarpara area in West Tripura District hours before the arrival of Prime Minister of India. A BJP leader stated that CPIM were behind the incident. The state Assembly polls are scheduled for Feb 18.

February 19 UMHA report also stated that militancy in the Northeast is on the decline. According to the report, the seven states in the northeast registered 308 militancy-related cases last year, down from 484 in 2016. In 2015, there were 574 insurgency-related cases reported while the year before that registered a staggering 824 such incidents. Tripura and Mizoram emerged as the most peaceful states in the region.
February 22

The CAPF has started deploying across the state to prevent post poll violence. The forces comprising of CRPF, BSF, CISF, personnel will perform duty during the counting process in twenty centers across the state on March 3. According to IG law and Order ''There will be 60 companies of CRPF for area domination purpose after counting of polled EVMs to prevent any kind of violence or intimidation'. Moreover, there will be twelve battalions of Tripura State Rifles to assist the central forces in maintaining law and order after the counting process.'

February 23

In an effort to resolve the long standing Bru refugee crisis in Tripura, UMHA Special Secretary for Internal Security Mahesh Kumar Singla arrived in Tripura. Officials stated that MHA envoy would join discussions with District Collectors and SPs from three Districts of Mizoram at BSF's sector headquarters at Panisagar in North Tripura.

With less than two weeks to go for counting of ballots Tripura Government has started deploying CAPFs to prevent post-poll violence. IG Law and Order stated that 'There will be 60 companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for area domination purpose after counting of polled Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) to prevent any kind of violence'.

March 16

Three-member delegation of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA), comprising Special Secretary for Internal Security Rina Mitra, adviser (Northeast) on Bru repatriation Mahesh Kumar Singla and Joint Secretary Satyendra Garg, met the refugee leaders in Agartala. For the last 21 years, over 35,000 Reang refugees have been staying in six camps at Kanchanpur in North Tripura district.

March 17

MBDP apex body of displaced Bru tribals, on March 17 warned of a "democratic movement" against the Centre's "harsh decision" to close down all Reang refugee relief camps and stop ration through PDS.

March 19

Joint Secretary of UMHA Mahesh Kumar Singla stated that rehabilitation of Bru Refugees in Tripura to Mizoram has been halted. When asked about the rehabilitation of the Reang refugees who have came from Mizoram and are living a life of refugees for the past 20 years at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions, the Secretary stated that 'The Reang refugees do not wants to go to Mizoram as they don't get land "patta" out there in Mizoram which the indigenous people of Tripura get. Moreover they have demanded 2 acre of land for each family for going 'back to Mizoram which the Mizoram government has clearly rejected'. He also added that 'The Central Government has announced a package of 147 cr. for their rehabilitation program from which the Mizoram Government have already received 7.90 cr. But it won't be wrong to say that the program is on halt and needs to bring on board all the stakeholders and we are working on it.

IPFT leaders joined a rally in New Delhi organised by the NFNS seeking new states. Failing this, the federation has threatened to launch a united political front before the 2019. Youth IPFT leader Shuklacharan Noatia stated that 'Twipraland is a political demand and so are all others. The protest was successful'. The ABSU president Promod Boro stated that that if the BJP-led government did not fulfil their separate state demands, the NFNS would form a political front before the 2019 elections.

March 20

The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on March 20 assured Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb that he would sanction two additional IRBN. Tripura currently has got 12 battalions of TSR the state's own armed police wing. The two IR battalions sanctioned for Tripura would generate direct employment for about 2,200 youths.

Tripura Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Devvarma, discussed border fencing, maintenance of border roads, apart from other security issues, with the home minister Rajnath Singh also assured Deb that he would consider the feasibility of installing CCTV cameras on the border fence with Bangladesh on the Tripura frontiers and set up a central control and monitoring room to prevent any illegal activities on the border

March 21

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju that new rehabilitation policy for surrendered militants in the Northeast with almost doubled stipend will come into force from April. The monthly stipend for a surrendered militant has been revised from INR 3,500 to INR 6,000 and the one-time grant from INR 1,50,000 to INR 4,00,000.

More incentives have been added for the weapons surrendered. A surrender-cum-rehabilitation scheme for the Northeast militants is in force since April 1998. Many, however, said the stipend offered under the scheme needed revision as cadres of many outfits were resorting to crimes like extortion as the amount offered by the government had not been revised for years. An official statement said 'A surrender-cum-rehabilitation scheme for the Northeast militants is in force since April 1998. Many, however, said the stipend offered under the scheme needed revision as cadres of many outfits were resorting to crimes like extortion as the amount offered by the government had not been revised for years'.

The statement also said that Assam has spend about INR 75 million for militant rehabilitation while Manipur spend INR 11.9 million and Tripura 11.8 million Militants who have signed cease fire agreements have demanded that the stipend be increased to cater to rising prices and prevent youths from returning to militancy. Number of surrendered militants in north east has reduced from 1,195 in 2012 to 130 in 2017. The statement said at least 640 militants surrendered in 2013, followed by 965 in 2014, 143 in 2015, 267 in 2016 and three till February 2018.

UMHA is planning to create a separate Central fund for security related provisions and even for constructing the requisite police infrastructure and to get their forces trained to handle the local crime situation. A source in UMHA added that 'We will also give them training with weapons and intelligence gathering'. He also added that 'Local crime must be handled and citizens must engage with the local police for their grievances. Not only it infuses a sense of normalcy, the local police also get engaged in vital intelligence gathering to aid security forces. It gets further teeth to handle criminals and miscreants to ensure 'business as usual', eventually leading to big infrastructure projects, roads and connectivity networks and crime-free inter region passage to boost tourism'.

According to government sources, 'The MHA feels that the para-military and other special forces deployed in the region can be engaged exclusively in intelligence gathering against terror modules, patrolling the borders and for special operations other than local crime and maintaining law and order in North Eastern States'.

According to sources in government the idea to engage the local police is encouraged by its recent experiences in Manipur and Assam. A source stated that 'In Manipur, the abductions have come down drastically since we started engaging the local police to handle it. In Assam too, the violent incidents have come down and we're now laying our focus on other States like Arunachal, Mizoram and Nagaland to tackle crimes of cross-border infiltration as the para-forces can check on the borders, but those who still sneak in can only be identified and caught with local intelligence gathered by State cops'

April 19

18 Rohingya refugees, en route to Delhi in search of jobs, were arrested from Teliamura in Khowai District. Khowai Superintendent of Police (SP) stated that 11 men, three women and four children were detained after the Guwahati-bound bus they were travelling in was raided following a tip-off. Tripura shares an 856km border with Bangladesh.

According to the police, Rohingya refugees use the neighboring country as a corridor to enter India. On January 14 this year, six Rohingya refugees were arrested from Dharmanagar railway station in North Tripura and eight others were arrested from the Khayerpur market area in West Tripura district, on November 29, 2017.

April 23

GoI has revised the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy of militants in the northeastern states with effect from April 1. The grant for surrendered militants has been raised to INR 4,00,000 from INR 1,00,000 and the monthly stipend to INR 6,000 from INR 3,500 for three years.

According to UMHA official, revised policy also includes provisions for vocational training, funds for construction of rehabilitation camps and compulsory Aadhaar biometric registration of surrenderees. The surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy in the Northeast has been implemented since 1998. Under the revised SRE in the region, ex gratia for civilians killed has been doubled to INR 1,00,000 and for Police personnel it has been increased to two million from INR 3,00,000. For Police personnel who suffer from permanent disability the ex gratia has been increased from INR 75,000 to INR 3,00,000.

Additionally, the salary for home guards has been increased from INR 4,500 to INR 6,000. Moreover, honorarium for village defence guards doubled to INR 3,000.

April 25

India has identified 120 vulnerable points along its 4,096km Indo-Bangladesh border and deployed additional BSF troopers to detect and push back Rohingya refugees if they try to enter the country. Unnamed Union Home Ministry sources said on April 25 said that the BSF, which has intensified patrol, has been told to only "push" the infiltrators back into Bangladesh and not arrest them so that they don't become a "liability".

May 15

Three-member team of NIA reached Tripura to interrogate 24 Bangladeshi youths who were arrested with forged documents in Agartala. Earlier, a separate team of the investigation agency led by superintendent of police Vivekananda Das questioned the arrested youths, who were suspected to have terror links.

Insurgency-related incidents in the Northeast dropped by 36 per cent in 2017, the lowest in 20 years. The annual report of the home ministry (2017-18) said such incidents decreased to 308 in 2017 compared to 484 in 2016 while Mizoram and Tripura reported no such incident in 2017

Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.