Pradyot lashes out at CPM, says Motha will talk to Delhi on own agenda, ‘not as anyone’s slave’

By opposing TIPRA Motha’s September 30 strike, the CPM is actually opposing Tripura’s tribals, Pradyot Kishore Debbarma said Monday, a day after the Left party said the strike was a ploy to divert attention from underdevelopment in the areas under the Motha-ruled tribal council.

The Motha founder said in an audio message to his supporters, “When TIPRA Motha calls for a strike on September 30, the CPM is against us. When the CPM contests elections, they ask us not to put up candidates for the sake of the Constitution, Opposition, democracy etc. But when we speak for tribal rights, CPM holds a press conference and says ‘everything is fine, what is the point of a strike?’ Do you expect to keep us suppressed or as slaves?”

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Pradyot also said that Motha would have talks with the central government on its own terms, not as anyone’s “slave”. “You think it’s a political fight. It’s for our future and for our next generation. You did politics but what did you give us? Poverty, no teacher in schools, forcing us to write in Bengali script in our language. You have played with our emotions,” he said.

Pradyot said the tribals were deprived of “actual power” in the 25 years of Communist rule till 2018. “Anyone can encroach our land today. Police don’t listen to us because we have only nominal power, not actual power like in Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Your 25 years of government snatched this power from us. Today you say the Construction is in distress. If you have so much love for the Constitution, where did the love for tribals go?”

Warning the CPM, Pradyot said those living in glass houses should not pelt stones at others. “Bubagra, TIPRA Motha, tribals, women, students and youths will observe a strike in one voice and ask Delhi to listen to us. If the CPM wants to oppose us, we will show them who the real tiger is in the forest,” he said.

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The royal-scion-turned-politician’s outburst came after Left Front convener Narayan Kar’s criticism of Motha’s strike. “There is no work, education or food in the TTAADC (Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council) areas now. TIPRA Motha wants to divert the attention of the people from these problems through the strike. We oppose the strike called by the TIPRA Motha,” Kar said Sunday.

Kar had also questioned Pradyot’s statement that the Union government was not against the interests of tribals. The CPM leader asked why Motha wanted to put pressure on the central government if the Union home minister indeed had a positive approach towards the development of tribal people.

Motha, which was formed in 2021, demands Greater Tipraland, a separate state for Tripura’s tribals.