[Reader-list] Book on Tripura insurgency set to storm markets (Courtesy: www.tripurainfo.com)

Sagnik Chakravartty sagnik_chakravartty at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 4 20:53:47 IST 2002

Book on Tripura insurgency set to storm markets 
By S Datta 

Srinibas Das (34), a professional jeep driver, still
shudders to visualise the daylight and summary murder
he had been witness to: cold blooded killing of a
young tribal militant by his commander in front of the
hide-out in remote Shermoon area on the Jampui hills
of North Tripura. A resident of Ambassa colony in
Dhalai district, Srinibas Das had been abducted at
gun-point by NLFT from Shikaribari area of the disrict
in September 1999 and taken blindfolded across hilly
terrain to what he still believes to be Shermoon area

Guarded all along by twenty armed 'sepoys' Srinibas
Das one day woke up from his fatigue-induced midday
nap to sound of gunfire . What he saw in half stupor
petrified him to his appointed place within the NLFT's
hide-out : a young militant lying dead in a pool of
blood and two tribal elders in tears sitting close by.
The elders had complained to the militant commander
that the slain militant had raped a girl in their
household previous night to which summary killing was
the sequel . Soon afterwards others in the group
shifted Srinibas to another hide-out from which he was
set free after his relatives had made a payment of Rs
20 thousand as ransom. 'Before that I had never seen a
sight like this and I still have nightmares' said

While the anecdote bears ample testimoy to how the
demented tribal youths stalk Tripura's benign hills,
other details in "Santras Klanto
Tripura"(Terror-stricken Tripura), first detailed and
authoritative book , authored through painstaking
research by leading journalist Jayanta Debnath, on
state's two decade long insurgency, clearly focusses
on the so-called militancy propelled by diverse
factors. The book which is set to hit book stands in
upcoming Kolkata book fair slated to commence later
this months provides authentic details for the first
time on the connection between church and the
militants as well as the nexus between security forces
in Bangladesh and the banned militant outfits of

NLFT's Bangladesh connection is borne out from a
letter addressed by the group's commander Sajek
Tripura to the local Bangladesh Rifles (BDR)
commandant in Khagaracherri district in Chittagong
hill-tracts on the problems faced by them. In the copy
of the letter, presumably seized from a surrendered
NLFT rebel and printed in the book 'Terror-stricken
Tripura' the NLFT commander explains their temporary
abandonment of a hide-out for fear of Indian security
forces . 'It has come to our sharp notice and
confirmation that the anti-NLFT squad led by expelled
Sanjit Reang and sponsored by Indian Intelligence
Agency , RAW is to concentrate near the
Indo-Bangladesh border', the letter says as the reason
for temporarily withdrawing from a hide-out close to
the border with Tripura. 

Apart from this, author and journalist Jayanta Debnath
has made a virtual revelation abut the close
connection between NLFT , sections of ATTF and
christian church.The copy of a top secret state
government's report to union home ministry, printed in
the book, proves how the missionaries enjoy a free run
in their proselytizing activities in the name of
spreading education and providing service to the
people. The increasing funds received by the various
denominations of the church is proved in cold figures
from the officialy reported and published in the book.
It shows that remittances from the church in the year
1994-95 was Rs 16 lakh 8 thousand while it rose to Rs
68 lakh 73 thousand in 1997-98. 'Information indicates
that some members of extremist outfits frequent some
churches and attend prayer in civics' the report
poignantly notes.

Rich in documentation , Jayanta Debnath's 'Santras
Klanto Tripura' ( Terror-stricken Tripura) gives a
proper perspective of Tripura's chronic insurgency
problem with its's roots in the post-partition history
of the state and the daunting socio-economic issues.
While authentic statistics and reproduction of vital
documents add immensely to the book's value , even a
cursory reading of the interrogation reports of
militants printed in the book leave one with the
inescapable condition that the movement ,propelled by
ethnic hatred as the dominant ideology , aims only at
mindless violence. Thus NLFT militant Shikinya Koloi
candidly discloses to police interrogators how he had
been driven to join the outfit for fear of ATTF who
had charged the the tribal headmaster of his school in
South Tripura's Taidu with a 'tax' notice of eighty
thousand in 1994. Plucked thrice in Madhyamik
examination Shikinya had failed to collect anything
beyond Rs 800 at the request of his headmaster and
gave the amount to the ATTF commander Kuchiya
Debbarma. But the ATTF strongman did not relent and
threatened that unless he managed to hand over the
entire amount soon Shikinya would be liquidated.
Simply to save his life hounded Shikinya joined rival
NLFT and went on a killing and abducting spree before
being arrested in 1999. 

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