Initiating discussions on important decisions regarding tribal demands in Tripura, A K Mishra, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Advisor on North-East Affairs, opened a dialogue with TIPRA Motha on Tuesday.
After the meeting, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma, the founder of TIPRA Motha, told reporters, “We have submitted our demands, including Greater Tipraland. Now, the government needs to clarify the solution they have in mind for the future of the Tiprasa people.”
Debbarma emphasized that they would consider a proposal only if it’s provided in writing, even if it falls short of statehood, stating, “We are not inconsiderate people.”
The main demand of TIPRA Motha is a separate administration and Greater Tipraland as “the final solution,” along with the development of Kokborok, the lingua franca of the majority of the 19 tribal communities in the state. Debbarma reminded officials that one reason for the separation of Bengali-speaking East Pakistan from Pakistan was the imposition of Urdu by the new nation.
Mishra is also scheduled to meet representatives of tribal wings from other political parties, tribal student bodies, and leaders of different tribal clans.
Earlier, TIPRA Motha had met Mishra in New Delhi, and the MHA advisor had discussions with leaders of the BJP ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, headmen of different tribal clans, and forums of former insurgents in the capital.
Despite Mishra’s role, there is no official acknowledgment.
Established two years ago in 2021, TIPRA Motha has gained significant popularity and is now the main opposition in the state, addressing the concerns of tribals, particularly regarding their ethnic identity. After the thin majority in the April Assembly results, the BJP made friendly overtures to TIPRA Motha. Debbarma had assured supporters that the Centre would appoint an interlocutor to discuss the demands, a promise reiterated by BJP coordinator for Northeast states Sambit Patra.
As months passed without the appointment, TIPRA Motha’s position weakened, making Mishra’s visit a significant boost. It is also expected to influence the coming Lok Sabha elections in Tripura, which has two parliamentary seats.
Previously, Debbarma scored a political win by securing the support of Meghalaya Chief Minister and NPP supremo Conrad Sangma for his rally in October, where Sangma endorsed the Tiprasa statehood demand. There is speculation about an alternative regional political front to counter the growing influence of the BJP in the region.