THIS is a book with a difference as it is developed around accounts by the author who was witness to some of the events that took place in Tripura, which lies in the north-eastern part of India. Tripura has been the author’s abode and a favourite topic for almost two decades. Tripura, the smallest of north-eastern states, is landlocked on three sides by Bangladesh and was caught in the web of highly patterned militant violence, horrendous tribal and non-tribal conflicts leading to destruction of peace of tribal and non-tribal people in this state for over the last three decades. Since 1980, tribal insurgencies in the state have been marked by brutal murders of common people, kidnapping of innocent citizens, ambushes of army personnel, extortions and ethnic cleansing perpetrated on unarmed non-tribals by the National Left Front of Tripura (NLFT) and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), two of the most notorious banned underground organisations.
Tripura first hogged the media focus at a national as well as international level when the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out in 1971. The famous ‘Agartala Conspiracy’ case, all out participation of Tripura’s politicians, especially the then Chief Minister Sachindra Lal Singh and his administration’s support to the Bangladesh cause following an influx of about 16 lakh Bengalis from war-ravaged East Pakistan. This was followed by two successive ethnic riots, in May 1979 and June 1980 respectively, that shocked the state from its stupor. A section of tribal youths resorted to a sustained and brutal terror campaign against the non-tribal population in particular and the government establishment in general.
It indeed is unfortunate that Tripura, despite its age-old tradition, culture, natural wealth, beautiful landscape and archaeological treasures has failed to attract the attention of the rest of the country. Only when the staccato of gunshots reverberates from the hills, that Tripura attracts world’s attention.
The author has given panoramic descriptions of incidents and many untold stories coming right from the horse’s mouth. The author, instead of giving his own interpretations, leaves the readers with the option to build their own conclusions while understanding the state’s communal and militancy issues in the right perspective. Today, with the militancy effectively down, if not altogether out, Tripura is on the fast track of development in all spheres of life. In fact, development activities are leaving telltale marks everywhere and are in sharp contrast with other north-eastern states.
(Lancer Publishers & Distributors, 2/42 (B), Sarvapriya Vihar, New Delhi-110 016.)