People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Tripura: TYF Leaders Escape Extremist Ambush
ON Friday, April 27, desperate tribal extremists of the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) ambushed the security convoy of two front-ranking leaders of the DYFI-affiliated Tribal Youth Federation (TYF), killing 9 people including 8 security personnel and injuring 3 others. The ambush took place near Jirania under Sadar subdivision. The TYF leaders had, however, a hair-breadth escape.
The ambush came as an outcome of the desperation that has gripped the extremist outfits because of the resolute resistance being offered to them by the CPI(M)-led organisations of tribal people and the Left Front statewide. Resistance to extremists is going on in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas too, which are currently being ruled by a proxy organisation of an outlawed extremist outfit.
Those actually targetted by ATTF extremists were Radhacharan Debbarma of the CPI(M) who is also the leader of opposition in the TTAADC and the TYFs president, CPI(M) legislator Pranab Debbarma who is also the TYFs joint secretary, and Rajkumar Debbarma, a CPI(M) member in the ADC.
The ambush came when these leaders were on their way from Agartala to Kanta Kobrapara under Jirania police station to participate in a meeting of the Upajati Ganamukti Parishad (GMP). Their convoy was ambushed by a gang of 40 to 50 ATTF extremists lying in wait on both sides of a sharp slope, with AK-47 and AK-56 rifles as well as grenades. The first three vehicles in which they were travelling narrowly escaped when the extremists hurled grenades and showered bullets on the convoy.
However, the fourth and fifth vehicles which carried only the security personnel came under severe fire and bombardment. Six jawans of the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) and District Armed Regiment (DAR) and an ASI of Jirania police station were killed on the spot. The fourth vehicle was completely gutted by the grenades. The security personnel travelling in the first three vehicles put up a resistance with retaliatory firing, in the face of which the extremists fled, albeit after looting a carbine and three SLRs from the fallen jawans of the fourth vehicle.
The first two vehicles then headed to the Assam Rifles camp, 3 km away, to inform it about the ambush. Within half an hour thereafter, men of the Assam Rifles, which is in charge of security of this area, reached the spot and set about removing the injured to the hospital. Out of the five injured, two including a civilian driver of the security escort vehicle succumbed to their injuries on their way to hospital. Three are now under treatment in G B hospital, Agartala.
Through separate statements, Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar and the state Left Front committee condemned the ambush as a desperate attack on the peoples ongoing resistance movement against extremists in Tripura as well as their protégé, the IPFT, which currently rules the TTAADC. The statements viewed this vengeful violence as a bid to boost the militants sagging morale in the backdrop of their bloody internal conflicts and the frequent surrender by members of the outlawed outfits to the state administration. The ambush testified to the extremists growing despair and desperation in the face of resolute resistance being put up by the states people, especially the tribals, and the continued crackdown by the states security forces inflicting frequent casualties on the extremists. Chief minister Manik Sarkar instructed the security forces to nab the culprits of the ambush. A massive manhunt is under way in the area.
Incidentally, CPI(M) MLA Pranab Debbarma was kidnapped by ATTF extremists and kept confined in their Bangladesh hideout for 11 months at a stretch a few years ago. (INN)