IPFT supporters staging sit-in protest against the arrest of Pradip Debbarma, president of Indigenous Motor Workers Union (IMWU), in Khumulwng on Thursday

Agartala: All government offices, establishment, shops and public transport remained closed on Thursday as the Indigenous Peoples’ Front of Tripura (IPFT), ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tripura, called for a 24-hour strike in Khumulwng area, the headquarters of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), around 20 km from state capital Agartala.

Speaking with reporters, Brishketu Debbarma, ruling MLA and assistant general secretary of IPFT, said that the 24-hour strike was called in protest against the arrest of Pradip Debbarma, president of Indigenous Motors Workers Union (IMWU), under ‘false’ charges.

The IPFT leader also demanded that the ‘fake’ charges registered against the party worker be withdrawn immediately without any condition.

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“The Tripura police had arrested Pradip Debbarma, an active worker of the party, with non-bailable charges although he is innocent and has not committed any crime. We have received massive support from the people and everything is closed in Khumulwng today,” Brishketu said.

He also said that BJP is doing politics to remain in the government, but IPFT does to protect our existence.

“The present BJP-led government is not empowering the MLAs of their own party to work freely. Everything being said to be done is actually eyewash to the common people, but in reality nothing is being done. The state is facing an anarchy,” Brishketu added.

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Speaking further he said that as the TTAADC elections approaches, the BJP is trying to restrict the movement and works of the IPFT.

“The BJP promises a lot of things but fails to keep their promise. Ahead of the 2018 general elections, NEDA chairman Himanta Biswa Sarma had assured to save the jobs of termination facing 10,323 teachers but they did nothing so far,” Brishketu said.

Later, the party workers also staged protest in front of Radhapur police station for arresting their colleague under alleged false charges.

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Meanwhile, speaking with EastMojo, Subrata Chakraborty, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) crime, said that adequate deployment of TSR jawans, Tripura police and Central Reserve Police Force have been made in the area to keep the situation under control.

“All office, shops and public transport remained closed today following the strike at the TTAADC headquarters. A number of IPFT supporters have joined the strike, however no untoward incident was reported so far,” Chakraborty said.

Earlier on July 1, the party office of the ruling BJP was set on fire by a group of miscreants at the TTAADC headquarters, a day before 200 supporters from IPFT joined the BJP. Following the incident, the workers of the BJP filed an FIR against the supporters of IPFT.

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The BJP and IPFT are partners in the coalition government that jointly defeated CPIM in the 2018 general assembly elections.

Of the total 60 seats, the ruling BJP-IPFT coalition government has got 36 seats, of which IPFT has eight, and the opposition CPI-M has 16 seats in Tripura’s legislative assembly.

The TTAADC is spread across 68% of the total geographical area of the state and is home to over one-third of the total population of Tripura.

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