Tripura, which has earned kudos in India for stamping out three
decades of terrorism, will get another feather in its cap later
this month when its police force, which traces its history to 686
years back, will be conferred the President's Colours in
recognition of the distinguished service it has rendered.
"After India's independence (in 1947), the Tripura Police will be
the first police force in eastern India to be conferred the
President's Colours," state police chief K. Saleem Ali told IANS.
According to Ali, the police forces of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab
and Tamil Nadu have been accorded this distinction in the past.
"President Pratibha Patil is expected to come to Tripura to confer
the Colours at a function to be held later this month. The date
for the function has not yet been finalised," said Ali, a 1978
batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.
"After the president's ceremonial conferring of the Colours, every
member of the Tripura Police unit would be given a badge
containing an impression of the Colours," he added.
He said that the Tripura Police's most elite unit, the Tripura
State Rifles (TSR), has earned kudos from the prime minister of
India and many state governments, besides various central
paramilitary forces, for successfully flushing out terrorism.
The TSR has also successfully discharged election-related duties
in many states, including Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand,
Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal, besides the
Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last October.
The Tripura Police recently launched "Prayaas," a multi-pronged
community policing scheme to reach out to the people, root out
crime against women and to completely flush out terrorism.
According to an official document, Tripura's police force, one of
India's oldest, was constituted during princely rule in 1325.
"Raja Ratna Manikya (1325-1350) was considered to be the first
king of Tripura who brought considerable reforms in the
administration as well as in the indigenous police system in the
line of Muslim administrative system of Bengal during his regime,"
the official document says.
At the end of several hundred years of rule by 184 kings, on Oct
15, 1949, the erstwhile princely state came under the control of
the government of India according to a merger agreement signed
between Kanchan Prabha Devi, the regent maharani, and C.
Rajagopalachari, the governor general of India.
During British rule, the princely state of Tripura extended up to
what was called "Chakla Roshanabad" comprising Comilla, Brahman
Baria districts in entirety and parts of Habiganj, Sylhet and
Noakhali districts that are now in Bangladesh.
At that time there was also the "Binidias", a special type of
police under the direct control of the king.
"They acted as conduits to inform the tribal chiefs about the
firmans (orders) of the king and also were empowered to arrest any
person for defying the king's orders," Panna Lal Roy, a writer and
historian, told IANS.
He said successive kings had reformed the policing systems during
the princely rule.
"Tripura's last king Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur's
(1923 to 1947) reign was the most turbulent period in the history
of Tripura and India also. Political activities got new momentum.
During communal riots in Bengal, a large number of refugees
entered the state causing demographic change and ethnic tension in
some places," Roy said, quoting from "Rajmala", Tripura's official
royal history book.
This, according to an official document, triggered the first
organised armed tribal rebellion, known as "Senkrak," and which
manifested itself in the mid-1960s in parts of northern and
western Tripura. "This movement was started as a reaction to
settling down of non-tribal refugees in the tribal reserve forest
"Strong feelings of social and economic deprivation and insecurity
combined with communal feeling and ambition for political power
deposited in the minds of a section of tribal youth. These
feelings, mixed with adventurism and aid from foreign agencies,
got stronger in the later part of the 1970s. As a result, the
unfortunate ethnic riots took place in June 1980 when more than
1,300 tribals and non-tribals got killed by each other and
large-scale arson and damage of properties also took place," the
Security and terrorism expert Manas Paul Said: "In 2000,
insurgency in Tripura was at its peak when a total of 453
civilians and 61 security personnel were mowed down by different
"From 2001 onwards, the local police, supported by the ruling
political leaders and people in general, embarked upon to defeat
the separatist outfits decisively," Paul said, adding that in
2009, only eight civilians and a security man were killed while
since last year, only one civilian has been killed.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)