Four months after the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) of Meghalaya passed a bill to scrap the Scheduled Tribe status of tribal women who marry non-ST men, Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) – Tipraha on Monday demanded a similar law to be passed in the winter session of the Assembly. The Tripura Assembly is scheduled to convene from November 29.
In July, the KHADC unanimously passed the bill, which also said children of Khasi women marrying outside their tribe would also be termed ‘non-Khasi’. In a press conference, IPFT-Tipraha president Aghore Debbarma said nine demands and four decisions were adopted at an annual general meeting of the party. The demands include a law that will strip tribal women marrying non-tribal men of their ST status.
“We have got reports that there are rampant incidents of tribal girls marrying non-tribal men in Tripura. These incidents are occurring in large numbers at places like Khowai, where over 50 per cent tribal girls are marrying non-tribal boys. Indigenous communities are already a minority in Tripura. We want to safeguard our ethnic identity. A law should be passed from Tripura Assembly which will strip such women of their ST status,” Aghore Debbarma said.
Party vice-president Budhu Debbarma claimed that non-tribal boys were grabbing opportunities of license permit and jobs in the name of their ST wives. The indigenous party also called for immediate implementation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) revision in Tripura even as it opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, saying it would jeopardise tribal identity in the country.
IPFT-Tipraha is a splinter group of IPFT, an ally of the BJP government. Criticised the IPFT, the party said the outfit had betrayed sentiment of indigenous communities of the state by laying off the movement for ‘Twipraland’ or a separate state. “We shall hold a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi in the last week of December to press for the demand of a separate state,” Budhu Debbarma stated.