Tripura minister accuses Mizoram of harbouring militants

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 01, 2012 10:30 hrs

Agartala, Dec 1 (IANS) Ahead of assembly polls in Tripura next February, separatist outfits are trying to carry out violent activities in the state from their bases in adjoining Mizoram, a minister said here Saturday.

"The central and Mizoram governments, besides intelligence agencies, are fully aware of militant activity in that state. But they are averse to taking action," Tripura Finance and PWD Minister Badal Chowdhury told reporters.

Quoting police reports on the interrogation of arrested militants, Chowdhury said: "Like the 1988 assembly polls, the leaders of opposition parties are trying to use underground militants to unleash violence ahead of the crucial assembly elections."

"During the 1988 assembly polls, (incumbent Mizoram Chief Minister) Lal Thanhawla was the chief minister (of the Congress led government). Letters on the conspiracies circulated between (then prime minister) Rajiv Gandhi, (erstwhile militant outfit) Tripura National Volunteers (chief) Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl and Lal Thanhawla subsequently appeared in the newspapers. None denied that," Chowdhury asserted.

Just ahead of the February 1988 assembly polls, TNV had mowed down around 100 people. The central government had promulgated the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and deployed the army three days before polls.

The minister said that three people including two timber traders, were kidnapped by separatist militants earlier this week from Rajibnagar village in neighbouring Mizoram, when traders of northern Tripura went to that state.

According to the minister the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) guerrillas sent a letter from Mizoram to the families of the captives seeking a ransom of Rs.30 lakh.

He said that after border fences were erected along Tripura's border with Bangladesh, terrorists have been using the unfenced border of Mizoram with Bangladesh.

The minister alleged that the Congress' political ally Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), a tribal party, is acting as the "overground face" of the outlawed NLFT outfit.

INPT leaders have denied the charges.

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