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Tripura Timeline - Year 2017


January 2

Three militant outfits of North East, KLO, NLFT and PDCK had set March 31 as 'deadline' for 'Hindi speakers' and Bengalis to 'quit Kamatapur, Karbi-Longri and Tripura' in an statement. The statement was signed by KLO 'chairman' Jiban Singh Koch, NLFT 'organising secretary' Seng-phul Borok and PDCK 'chairman' JK Lijang. The statement also condemned the killing of suspected NDFB-IKS, Ratna Narzary of Khunguri village of Chirang District on December 29 by SFs. According to the report, all these three militant groups are mentored by the NSCN-K and ULFA-I.

January 8

The Additional Secretary for Mizoram's Home department Lalbiakzama said that the proposed repatriation of over 32,800 Brus lodged in six relief camps in Tripura was scheduled to begin from the second week of February, 2017. Lalbiakzama attended a meeting between the UMHA and Mizoram Government in New Delhi over the issue of the repatriation of the 5,413 Bru families.

January 15

The three parties, the IPFT, the INPT and the NCT, announced a hartal (general strike) in areas under the TTAADC on February 8 to protest the new citizenship policy of the Union Government. The proposed amendments will grant swifter Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

January 17

PDCK, a Karbi militant formation, repeated its earlier 'final ultimatum' to the Hindi and Bengali speaking inhabitants of Karbi Anglong Autonomous District to leave the District before March 31, 2017. This has led to a panic situation among the two communities. PDCK along with two other groups - KLO and NLFT on January 2 had asked the two communities to quit 'Kamatapur', Tripura and 'Karbi Longri' within March 31. The outfits have further warned that after the dateline both the communities would have to face 'the gravest of the grave' situation.

February 4

In some declassified reports of CIA of the United States of America, it was revealed that the North Eastern militant groups had been receiving Chinese assistance in terms of arms and training since 1960s. The CIA report was submitted on July 26, 1968 and from the report it is evident that the militant groups of the Northeast were receiving help from China even during that time. The report said that the Naga militants first established contacts with China in December, 1966. The report revealed that the first batch of approximately 200 militants crossed over to Northern Burma (now Myanmar) to obtain arms training in Yunnan.

January 29

The BSF foiled attempts by a group of African nationals to illegally enter India from Bangladesh through the Muharichar border in Belonia in South Tripura District. A mobile phone and some personal belongings were seized from him. However, rest of the accomplices managed to flee from the place.

February 8

At least 50 persons were injured in sporadic clashes during a 12-hour bandh (shutdown) called by the ATIRPF in TTAADC area, to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, introduced by the BJP-led NDA. The INPT, IPFT and the NCT last month (January) formed the ATIRPF to oppose the bill. The bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016 and now under the scrutiny of a parliamentary committee, seeks to enable Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who have fled to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh without valid travel documents or those whose valid documents have expired in recent years, to acquire Indian citizenship through the process of naturalization.

February 16

Normal life was severely affected in the Gandacherra Sub-division as the IPFT, a tribal-based party, called a 48-hour bandh (shutdown) in tribals-dominated Dhalai District to protest the alleged Police 'high-handedness 'during the February 8 when three tribal parties had called a 12-hour bandh to oppose the Centre's citizenship bill.

February 21

In a statement, the umbrella organisation of displaced Brus, MBDPF said that the Bru refugees lodged in seven relief camps in northern Tripura since the last 20 years had decided not to return to Mizoram as the Mizoram Government has "refused" to meet their demands. The MBDPF said that a public meeting was held at all the seven relief camps on February 14 and 15 in which the refugees expressed their unwillingness to return to Mizoram by raising their hands. The public meeting was conducted as per the decision of a meeting of JMG in Guwahati on February 12 in which the MBDPF was entrusted to submit the public decision within three months. The JMG meeting, comprising representatives of the Ministries of Home Affairs of Mizoram and Tripura and MBDPF, went inconclusive.

February 24

India has decided to throw open its border roads to help Bangladesh construct border outposts in CHT, known for its inhospitable terrain. Some areas in Chittagong, bordering Tripura and Mizoram, have no motorable roads and India has decided to allow the Border Guard Bangladesh to construct 13 border outposts using the road connectivity available in the two States.

March 1

The IPFT, a tribal-based party in the State launched a three-day protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi against the central Government's citizenship bill and demanded a separate State in Tripura. The IPFT, along with two other tribal based parties - the INPT and the NCT-formed the ATIRPF to oppose the citizenship bill introduced by the BJP led Government.

March 8

One Bangladeshi security personnel of Griha Rakshi Bahini, identified as Nausad Mia (62), was lynched and another detained by the villagers at Siddhinagar village under the jurisdiction of Puran Rajbari Police Station in South Tripura District when 12 intruders attempted a robbery. Informing about the incident South Tripura District SP Tapan Debbarma said, "Twelve Bangladeshis comprising eight Griha Rakshi Bahini personnel (equivalent of Indian Home Guards), two Government employees and two civilians illegally crossed the India-Bangladesh border and tried to rob Indian villagers on Wednesday night." Senior BSF and Police officers, along with reinforcements, have been camping in the tension ridden areas.

March 17

ATS of the Karnataka Police arrested a suspect here having links with the 2005 terror attack at Bengaluru's IIS from the outskirts of Agartala town in West Tripura District. "The Karnataka ATS personnel, with the help of Tripura Police, arrested terror suspect Habib Mia, (37), from Jogendranagar on the outskirts of Agartala," a senior Tripura Police official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

March 22

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the security situation in the Northeastern States of India and directed officials to enhance vigil along the international borders in the region. During the hour long meeting, the Home Minister was given a detailed presentation on the prevailing situation in the Northeast, especially militancy in the region. Singh was also told about the steps taken to ensure peace, especially in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur, the four states considered to be affected by insurgency, official sources added.

The MoS for Home Affairs clarified that surrendered militants without any criminal cases pending against them can contest in elections. Kiren Rijiju on the issue further informed that at least 15,314 militants have surrendered under the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for the northeastern region. Altogether, 235 individuals are still undergoing rehabilitation under the Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation Scheme as of financial year 2016-17.

April 2

In a fresh attempt to nudge Myanmar to launch a flush out operation against the militants of the Northeast, India reduced the allotment to its Aid to Myanmar programme significantly and allocated INR 225 crore only this Year (2017-18). In the previous year, (i.e. in 2016-17) India sanctioned INR 400 crore to Myanmar but the indifferent attitude of Myanmar over the issue of Northeastern militant groups disappointed India and this time India has clearly shown its displeasure over the issue, claims the report.

April 5

Authoritative security sources in the Union Home Ministry claimed that China has roped in militant groups of North East to launch a proxy war against India. The source further claimed that the recent statement of ULFA-I, on March 28, against the visit of Dalai Lama in Assam was dictated by China. Also, asserting that China was not interested in organizational strength of ULFA-I, the security sources said that China intends to intensify its proxy war against India in the North East through the separatist groups.

April 10

Replying to a question by MP Krupal Balaji Tumane, Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir revealed that insurgent activities in the Northeast along the Indo-Myanmar border saw an increase compared to the Indo-Bangladesh border in the last three years. According to the report, during the period from 2015 to March 31, 2017, terror activities along Indo-Myanmar border increased alarmingly in view of insurgents groups shifting their bases from Bangladesh to territories within Myanmar and China. According to the Minister, during this period, 10 encounters took place in three North Eastern States - Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura along the Indo-Bangladesh border. Even though no casualties were reported in these encounters, a total of 11 suspected rebels were arrested. In Assam along the Indo-Bangla border, three encounters were reported and four militants arrested in 2015. No such incident was however reported in Assam along the Indo-Bangla border in 2016-17. On the other hand, the Indo-Myanmar border has been witnessing steady rise in insurgent activities during the period with as many as 206 encounters reported between militants and security personnel spread across four Northeastern States Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. While 18 security personnel lost their lives, 32 insurgents were killed in these encounters. A total 337 rebels were arrested from the international border in the four States during this period. Among the four Northeastern States sharing Myanmar border, maximum number of encounters took place in Arunachal Pradesh. As many as 81 encounters were reported in that State where three security personnel and 13 militants were killed. During this period, 114 suspected insurgents were arrested. Even in 2017, 13 encounter cases have been reported till March in Arunachal along the border with Myanmar. Union Minister Ahir said the Central Government of India in tandem with Northeastern State Governments has adopted a multi-pronged approach to contain cross-border infiltration. This includes strengthening of border management, multi-tiered deployment along the international border and Line of Control, synergizing intelligence flow to check infiltration and pro-active action against terrorists.

April 16

Division in the IPFT become official when the dissident faction led by Budhu Debbarma formed a separate committee and declared that they are the real IPFT. The committee was formed in a workers conference held at Sahid Bhagat Singh Yuba Awash. Rana Kishor Reang and Rajeswar Debbarma were elected as 'president' and 'secretary' of the committee. The elected 'secretary' Rajeswar Debbarma said that the IPFT since its formation veered only around one issue a separate state comprising the areas of TTAADC. But the conference has decided to give a new dimension to the party program and to include different social economic issues like unemployment, opposition to the proposed amendment of the Indian Citizenship Act etc.

April 22

The annual report of the UMHA for 2016-17 revealed that the security situation in the Northeast had "improved substantially" during the previous year where insurgency-related incidents decreased by more than 15 per cent compared to 2015. "The security situation in the northeastern states, which has remained complex for quite some time because of diverse demands of ethnic groups and various militant outfits, improved substantially in 2016.

The number of insurgency-related incidents in the region decreased by more than 15 per cent compared to 2015," the report said. In 2015, while there were 574 insurgency-related incidents, the corresponding figure in 2016 was 484. The report also said 2016 witnessed the "lowest number" of insurgency incidents since 1997. While casualties among SFs in the region declined from 46 (2015) to 17 (2016), civilian casualties declined in all states except Assam where it increased from 9 in 2015 to 29 in 2016. The report noted that while Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura had no insurgency-related violence in 2016, there was considerable decline in incidents in Meghalaya (44 per cent) and Nagaland (43 per cent) compared to 2015. In 2016, Manipur accounted for about 48 per cent of total violent incidents in the region and Arunachal Pradesh experienced an increase in violent activities by 38 per cent, primarily on account of violence by the Khaplang faction of NSCN-K, the report stated. In Assam, insurgency-related violence continued to decline and 2016 witnessed the lowest number of insurgency incidents since 1997, it added. In 2016, Meghalaya witnessed a 44 per cent decline in the number of violent incidents. While there were 123 incidents in 2015, the figure declined to 68 in 2016.

The report stated that the number of civilian casualties decreased by 33 per cent compared to 2015. Further, while 25 militants were killed in 2015, the figure came down to 15 in 2016. Similarly, only 59 militants were arrested in 2016 compared to 121 in 2015. However, there was no casualty on the part of security personnel in 2016.

May 3

Mizo inhabitants of Jampui hills in North Tripura District bordering Mizoram has revived their demand for a Regional Council and have decided to go for agitation. The agitation program will begin with a procession on May 11. The procession will begin from Belianchip and pass across all the 11 villages of the hills to end at Bhangmun. Lalramjoha Sailo, 'president' of the Jampui Mizo Convention said they have submitted memorandum to the Governor and the CM in support of their demand but no action has been taken forcing them to launch agitation. He said the TTAADC was formed for development of the tribals but it failed to satisfy the aspirations of the smaller tribes. A smaller section of the tribals are cornering all the benefits, he alleged. He said a delegation of the Jampui Mizo Convention met the CM in 2016 and apprised about their problems but no positive action has been taken to solve these. He said the proposed regional council will be comprised of all the 11 villages of the hills. Eighty five per cent of the inhabitants of the proposed area are Mizo's while the rest 15 per cent are Reangs. He said the Reangs also will get the same benefits like the Mizo community if the regional council is formed.

Chief Executive Member of TTAADC Radhacharan Debbarma met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi. During the meeting, the CEM handed over a memorandum seeking his intervention for overall development of the tribal council to the Union Home Minister. Demands include introduction of Panchayati Raj like three-tier system in tribal council's Village Committees by amending the Constitution and inclusion of Kokborok language in the eight Schedule of the Constitution. The CEM also demanded enhancement of allocation for TTAADC for the current fiscal year as NITI Aayog had reduced outlay in the last financial year. Debbarma also pointed out Autonomous District Councils were floated on the basis of population way back in 1952. "By this time, population in ADC areas has been increased and therefore there is a need to increase fund to the tribal council", he said.

May 5

BSF DG K.K Sharma said that Bangladesh is no longer a safe haven for Indian insurgent groups. Sharma, who was addressing the media at the 8th annual medical conference at the BSF headquarters in the Shillong, said the few training camps and hideouts set up by Indian rebel groups, like HNLC and ULFA, in the neighbouring country have been destroyed by the Border Guards Bangladesh. On border fencing in the State, Sharma said BSF has taken up the land acquisition issue with the State Government. At the same time, he said the border sentinels will introduce high-end technology to detect intruders. "BSF is in the process of filling up the gaps along the border by technological solutions - installing intruder detection alert system that would go a long way in detecting infiltrators.

May 13

In a meeting at an undisclosed location, the NLFT-Biswamohan faction selected Subir Debbarma alias Yamorok (45), as the new 'president' of the organisation. On the other hand, Biswamohan Debbarma who had led the militant group for long years has been made 'advisor'. The report further added that the new leader extended support to those political parties who are 'waging war' for Twipraland.

May 16

Reviewing the security situation in the Northeast with chief secretaries and DGPs of the region in New Delhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh described religious radicalisation as a serious security threat and said if not checked in time; it could lead to terrorism. He also expressed concern over the proliferation of illegal arms in the region and asked the Police chiefs to launch organised campaigns against arms smugglers.

May 20

Kanchanpur sub-divisional administration began clicking photographs from today (May 20), for AADHAR enrollments of Bru displaced people sheltered in transit camps of North Tripura District for past 20 years. In the midst of uncertainty of repatriation of 37,000 Bru inmates to their native area in Western Mizoram, Tripura Government in consultation with the Central Government of India has decided to issue AADHAR cards to Brus, as a part of the move to legitimize their identity proof living in transit camps.

May 22

Administrative and Police officials of border Districts in Tripura have finalized strategies to deal with cross-border crimes and deal with other irritants in a one-day meet with their counterparts of contiguous Bangladeshi districts. The District Magistrates and SP of Tripura's Sepahijala, West Tripura and Khowai Districts held a day-long meeting in Comilla in eastern Bangladesh with their counterparts from Comilla, Brahmanbaria, Habiganj and Moulvibazar, Sepahijala District Magistrate Pradip Chakraborty told IANS. "During the joint border conference, discussions about cross-border smuggling, drug trafficking, terrorism, management of anti-sabotage activities, drainage water treatment, problems relating to border residents have been discussed and some strategies were finalized to deal with these issues," he said. Chakraborty, who was the team leader of the Indian delegation, said that sports and cultural festivals in the border districts were also discussed.

May 24

Three suspected militants of KLO were arrested by jawans (troopers) of the 12th Battalion of TSR from Raishyabari area in Dhalai District. Tripura Police informed that the suspected militants were trying to infiltrate the Indian soil from neighbouring Bangladesh after weaponry training in Bangladesh for the last 16 months. Police also recovered arms, Bangladeshi currency and other incriminating documents from the militants.

Police arrested one person, identified as Rajesh Das (18), along with one .9mm pistol from Sidhai Police Station area under Mohanpur Sub-division in West Tripura District. According to the Police he was involved in illegal arms trading as well as narcotics business.

June 1

The UMHA has said that there has been a sharp decline in violence, extortion and attacks on security forces in the Northeast in the last three years. As per data available with the UMHA, only 484 such incidents were reported in 2016 as compared to 1,025 in 2012 and 732 in 2013. It further noted that the number of abductions have come down from 329 in 2012 and 307 in 2013 to 168 in 2016. Only 28 such cases were registered till March this year. However, the number of security personnel killed in Manipur shows an upward trend with 24 being killed in 2015 and 11 in 2016 as compared to 8 and 5 deaths in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

The NDFB-IKS suffered a setback with more than 900 cadres being arrested and nearly 55 being killed in security operations, according to the UMHA note. The number of such incidents in Assam jumped to 50 in 2016 as compared to 21 in 2013, the UMHA note stated.

The number of militants surrendering saw a decline with 267 such surrenders taking place in 2016 as compared to 1,161 in 2012, as per official data. Arms recovery was not significant despite a crackdown as 698 arms were recovered in 2016 as compared to 1,856 in 2012.

As many as 1,202 militants were arrested in 2016 as compared to 2,145 in 2012. Of this, the highest number of arrests in 2016 has been made in Manipur (518) and Assam (366) while maximum abduction cases were reported from Nagaland (51) and Meghalaya (52).

June 3

UHM Rajnath Singh said that year 2016 witnessed the lowest number of insurgency-related incidents in last 20 years. "The year 2016 witnessed the lowest insurgency incidents in last 20 years. Such incidents reduced from 824 in 2014 to 484 in 2016. The number of incidents was 574 in 2015, which was the lowest since 1997, and further reduced in 2016. The number of civilian casualties in Northeast has also come down drastically in the last three years," said UHM Singh in New Delhi. "Sustained security initiatives during the last three years have brought peace and stability to the North-eastern region of the country after decades of insurgency," Singh added.

June 4

Tripura Police has arrested at least 13 Nigerian citizens from border areas of Belonia in South Tripura District in last eleven months while they were trying to cross over to Bangladesh without valid documents. The sudden spurt of Nigerians in a particular border has caused concern among the security forces, and the Police are suspecting involvement of a big human trafficking gang.

June 7

Chinese agencies are trying to launch a proxy war with India by using the militant groups of the North East region and some of these plans came to light after a militant leader of ULFA-I, named Ron Asom surrendered recently. Police sources further said that the inputs available with the security agencies indicate that the major militant groups of the region came into a common platform only after pressure from the Chinese agencies and now they have started operating together.

June 12

Khango Konyak, who is the new 'chairman' of the NSCN-K, is likely to be the head of the UNLFW, which is an umbrella organisation of the militant groups of North East. Earlier it was expected that Paresh Baruah, the 'chief' of ULFA-I might be the head of the UNLFW. But dismissing speculations about his taking over charge of the UNLFW, Paresh Barua has backed the idea of 'next-generation leaders' coming forward to take charge after the demise of NSCN-K 'chief' SS Khaplang.

June 14

The tribal-based party IPFT, which has been agitating for the creation of a separate State, announced that it would block NH-8 and the rail tracks for an indefinite period from July 10. Announcing about the agitation, the IPFT President, Narendra Chandra Debbarma, said that they would organise a rally also in Agartala on the same issue on August 23.

June 29

The Police forces of various States of the Northeast Indian region may soon coalesce under an umbrella organisation to improve coordination and efficiency. A suggestion in this regard was reportedly made by Assam's DGP, Mukesh Sahay, at the 24th conference of DGs and IGs of Police of the Northeast region held in Guwahati on June 29. It was attended by Satyendra Garg, a Joint Secretary (Northeast) in the UMHA. Sahay said if the militants can have an umbrella organisation, the Police too can have it. He said it would ensure better coordination among the Police forces of the Northeast region. "Like one nation one tax, we can have one NE one NE police. We need to work on making this concept, encouraged by the Prime Minister, possible. We are eagerly looking forward to your recommendations on Nepol," Assam Chief Secretary Vinod Kumar Pipersenia said. Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and DGP Mukesh Sahay also seconded the idea of 'Nepol'.

July 2

IPFT had announced an indefinite 'Rail and Road blockade' programme scheduled to commence from July 10 to press for their demand for a separate 'Twipraland' state to be carved out of the TTADC areas which encompass 68.10% of the state's total geographical territory. Special security measures will be made along the railway line from Agartala to Churaibari and along the NH-44 from Agartala to the bordering point with the Karimganj District of Assam.

July 9

The six Bru relief camps in Tripura should be closed and assistance provided to the inmates there should be stopped if the Brus continue to refuse to return to Mizoram, an adviser of Ministry of Home Affairs said. An official release in Aizawl said that Union Ministry of Home Affairs Adviser (North East) MK Singla expressed this opinion while meeting Mizoram CM Lal Thanhawla. However, this is his personal opinion, the release said.

July 10

Road and rail traffic was affected in Tripura as the IPFT party leaders and supporters launched an indefinite blockade for Twipraland statehood. The report says that thousands of IPFT supporters blockaded Assam-Agartala National Highway and railway track at Khamthingbari in West Tripura District cutting the State off from the rest of the country.

July 11

The IPFT sought Governor Tathagata Roy's intervention to find a long lasting solution of the problems of the indigenous people living in the State. IPFT 'general secretary' Mevar Kumar Jamataia accompanied by Buddu Debbarma called upon the Governor in Raj Bhavan and submitted a two-page memorandum before him. In the memorandum, IPFT general secretary Maver Kumar Jamatia said the party had submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister pressing for creation of Twipraland. On the other hand, National Highway and railway blockade of IPFT entered second day on July 11 with no untoward incident.

July 12

The IPFT which has blockaded the National Highway and the lone railway track in the State to push its demand for a separate state has sought tri-partite talks with the Union and State Governments over its demand. "We have sought the Governor's intervention and a tri-partite meeting between us, the Centre and state governments to resolve the matter," IPFT President Narendra Chandra Debbarma said. Meanwhile, a group of 14 IPFT workers stood nude in front of the Champak Nagar Bridge, gateway to the Barmura hill ranges, as part of the protest. However, after the Police intervention, these protesters fled the spot.

July 13

The State Government urged the IPFT leadership to call off their indefinite NH and Railway Blockade programme keeping in mind of people's sufferings. "The state government requested the IPFT leadership to call off the ongoing blockade programme immediate as it has been disturbing the people", according to an official release issued by ICA. In the press release, the State Government said that it has been strongly opposing Twipraland demand for long time.

July 14

President of the IPFT Narendra Chandra Debbarma rejected the appeal of Tripura Government to withdraw the ongoing rail and road blockade imposed by IPFT that enters its fifth day. Reiterating its stand in opposing the demand for a separate State and the rail and road blocked movement as unjustified the State Government has urged the IPFT leaders to refrain themselves from the agitation that is causing grave problems to people.

India has yet again underscored the need to flush out the Northeast-based militants operating from Myanmar. Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, Senior General U Min Aung Hliang is currently touring India and he called on PM Narendra Modi and several other ministers in New Delhi. He also called on Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, besides Army chief General Vipin Rawat. According to official sources, the visiting Senior General briefed the PM about bilateral defence and security cooperation. The Prime Minister appreciated the close cooperation between the armed forces of India and Myanmar.

July 15

The BGB has denied the presence of North East-based militant camps in the country. Addressing a press conference in Shillong after the culmination of the talks with the BSF officials, BGB Additional Director General (North East region) Mohammad Zahid Hasan said Bangladesh has zero tolerance towards anti-social elements and the country's leadership maintains a tough stand against insurgent groups. "These (presence of insurgent camps) are mere perceptions… We will firmly act if there is any," Zahid said. BSF had raised the issue of presence of outfits like GNLA, ULFA-I and HNLC in Bangladesh territory and sought stringent action against them. Earlier, IG of BSF (Meghalaya frontier) PK Dubey reiterated that there are no regulated militant camps in Bangladesh which existed 10-15 years back and there is coordinated action between the border sentinels of the two countries.

July 16

IPFT has continued to impose the ongoing rail and road blockade, which has entered into its eighth day. CM Manik Sarkar on July 16, 2017 appealed to Union Minister of Home Affairs Shri Rajnath Singh to intervene in the matter.

 

 

 

 

 
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