File image of IPFT protesters in Tripura Credit: Ranjan Roy

Agartala: A high-level committee, recently formed by the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) to explore social, economic, cultural and linguistic issues of the indigenous people of Tripura, will arrive in the state and hold meetings with stakeholders on October 9 and October 10, said sources.

“The 13-member committee led by special secretary of internal security, MHA, will hold meetings with national and regional political parties and other stakeholders on October 9 and October 10. The committee will also meet organisations working for welfare of indigenous people of the state on October 10,” sources said. Interested organisations will have contact the home department of the state and fix an appointment.

The committee will submit its report to the Centre after reviewing issues related to tribal communities and certain ‘terms of references’.

The committee may recommend steps related to economic issues like proper utilisation of land patta. Under the ambit of linguistic issues, “The committee may examine for inclusion of Kokborok, a major tribal language of the state in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution and recommend effective steps to be taken for development of all the tribal languages of the state including Kokborok”, mentioned in terms of references.

According to the terms of references, the committee may recommend suitable measures to be taken for preservation, and showcasing tribal arts, crafts, dance, music and indigenous way of life outside the state. Considering that ‘alienation of tribal land is one of the major causes leading to tribal unrest and militancy in the state’, the committee may examine and recommend measures for effective restoration of the alienated lands to the tribal of the state. Also, the committee may recommend steps relating to education and health-related issues, and strengthening the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).

Ruling BJP’s ally IPFT welcomed the MHA’s move for constituting the high-level committee. In a recent press meet, the party commented that the move by MHA would eventually help in fulfilling the demand for a separate state, even though the issue of ‘Tipraland’ did not come under the ambit of the 13-member committee.

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