Stop the Attacks Against The Borok People!

Scenes of the bloody dispersal in Tripura (Photo by Anthony Debbarma)

The IPMSDL strongly condemns the violent and bloody dispersal of the peaceful protest held by indigenous Borok and other peoples in Agartala, Tripura, India on August 23, 2016. A minimum of 40 people were hurt in the said incident, all of them Indigenous Peoples.

For 2000 years the Tripuri peoples have lived on their ancestral lands and established independent kingdoms before being invaded by the British. In 1949 the Tripuri people were annexed by the Indian Union without the benefit of consultations. On the 22nd of August 2016, thousands of indigenous youth from all over Tripura gathered together in a peaceful assembly organized by the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT). The assembly was to mark the Tripura Land Demand Day, where the Borok peoples demanded their right to self determination, land, food and justice from the Tripura government. While the assembly was ongoing, several onlookers attacked the Tripuri people attending the assembly, resulting in at least 6 deaths and 40 injured, all of them Indigenous Peoples. Many of the protesters were also assaulted while hiding in homes and buses.

We are enraged that the Tripura government’s security forces failed to protect the rights of the Borok peoples to peaceful assembly and to ask redress from the government. Several eyewitnesses also said that several security personnel even encouraged the attackers to give chase to the withdrawing indigenous protesters. Even as the Tripura security personnel did nothing to prevent the bloody assault on the Borok protesters, the Tripura government also declared a media blackout which prevented the media from covering and reporting the event to the general public.

This is a clear assault on the right to self determination, free speech and assembly of the Borok Indigenous Peoples. We strongly urge the Tripura and Indian governments to immediately conduct an investigation into the matter and call to account those responsible for this deliberate attack on the rights and security of the Borok protesters. We further urge the Tripura and Indian governments to immediately lift the news blackout that the international public may know of the details regarding the incident. We call on the United Nations and the international community to express its condemnation of this brazenly criminal act, and call into account those responsible for the crimes and injustice perpetrated presently and historically against the Borok peoples, up to and including the Tripura and Indian governments if necessary.

We also commend the Borok peoples who held their ground and continue to fight for their right to self determination and liberation. We are one with you in struggle.

Beverly Longid
IPMSDL Global Coordinator

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