Agartala: Council of Tiprasa Hoda, the apex body of Tripura tribal societies, on Wednesday demanded a public apology from Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha following his alleged statement which questioned TIPRA Motha chief Pradyot Kishore Debbarman’s “Maharaja” title.

According to a report published in a widely circulated Bengali daily “Syandan Patrika”, the Chief Minister while addressing the state executive meeting held at Charilam, had urged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers not to refer to Debbarman as a “Maharaja”.

Even though the closed-door meeting was held where media persons were not permitted, the newspaper quoted the Chief Minister.

As per the report, the CM had expressed his resentment over Debbarman’s false media statements. The report stated that Saha denied false claim made by Debbarman on discussions held between the two, with regard to the appointment of an interlocutor. Denying the claim, Saha said that no such issues were discussed when they met.

Dr Saha also reported to have expressed his disappointment over the role of Leader of the Opposition Animesh Debbarma, a senior leader of the party that Debbarman heads.

Reacting sharply on the contents of this particular news report, Council of Tiprasa Hoda on Wednesday sought a public apology from the Chief Minister for his reported statement. The tribal body also threatened to launch protests if the CM does not apologise.

Slamming the Chief Minister, Hoda member Kripajoy Reang said, “The Chief Minister is holding a constitutional position and his duty is to respect the sentiments of people belonging to all sections of the society. He has no rights to dictate terms to our society on how we would respect our chieftain.” 

He said that there is a recorded history that Maharajas governed the state for a long period of time. Rajamala (the chronicles of Tripura kingdom) is evidence of the contribution of Maharajas in the state, the leader pointed.

“If he had spoken these words intentionally, we have every reason to consider his statement against the interests of the whole Tiprasa community. And, if this is a mistake, he should seek a public apology at the earliest,” Reang said.

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Chairman of the tribal body, Padma Lal Jamatia said, “We vehemently condemn this kind of statement if the Chief Minister had spoken so. We are deeply pained to see such sort of comments from a senior leader of the state.” 

The tribal leader said that if this kind of attitude is made towards the tribal culture, things can go terribly wrong. “We fear things could go terribly wrong in the days and years to come. We shall not sit idle if our Maharaja is under attack,” the leader added. 

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