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Shutdown in Tripura
Published on 12 Nov. 2009 12:43 AM IST
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Life was paralysed in parts of northern Tripura Wednesday following a strike called by political parties to protest a terror attack on the families of surrendered militants that claimed eight lives. The attack came even as peace had begun to prevail in the state. Police say the attackers may have come from and escaped back into Bangladesh. “Shops and businesses establishments, government offices and educational institutions remained closed, while traffic went off the roads in terror hit Kanchanpur sub-divisions in northern Tripura,” said police spokesman Nepal Das. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar Wednesday visited the site of the attack, Pushparampara village, 150 km north of here. It is yet to recover from Monday night’s attack by the outlawed National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT). Sarkar, who also hold the home portfolio, said: “It is an act of cowardice. When peace and tranquillity have been established in the northeastern state, this barbaric attack is a desperate and deliberate attempt to disturb the peace and ongoing developmental process.” “A large number of extremists have shunned the path of violence and joined the mainstream responding to the appeal of the state government,” the chief minister said in a statement. He asked the security forces to take stern action against those militants still holding guns. Different political parties, including the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), main opposition Congress and its ally Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) separately condemned the killings. “Heavily armed NLFT guerrillas raided the Pushparampara village in northern Tripura Monday midnight and abducted 11 villagers, later gunning down eight of them in a nearby jungle,” said a senior police officer. One woman was injured while two people are still missing. Police have recovered eight bodies from the jungle while a search is on for the two missing people. The injured woman is now being treated in a government-run hospital. “The victims were all either parents or close family members of 10 NLFT militants who had surrendered before the security forces Monday,” Das said, adding the extremists carried out revenge killings. “The Bangladesh-trained militants led by their self-styled leader Kiranjoy Reang, 30, surrendered before senior officers of the Tripura police,” he said. Sixteen NLFT militants had laid down arms before the authorities in Tripura Sunday and Monday. The tribal dominated Pushparampara village is just 500 metres from the India-Bangladesh border. “As the village is located near the Bangladesh border, we suspect that militants from across the border carried out the attack and then immediately returned to the other side of the border,” a senior police official told IANS on phone from the spot. Director General of Police Pranay Sahaya, accompanied by senior police officials, was still camping in the area to supervise the anti-insurgency operation that was launched immediately after the attack. The banned NLFT and another outlawed militant outfit All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) have been fighting for an independent tribal homeland and operates out of Bangladesh. About 340 tribal guerrillas of the ATTF and NLFT, including some with rewards of Rs.250,000 on them and with Interpol arrest warrants against them, have fled from their Bangladeshi camps and surrendered to Indian security forces this year.

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