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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.





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