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Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Government probes Tripura security
Women fighters
The rebels have stepped up their offensive
By Subir Bhaumik in Calcutta

Indian Home Secretary Kamal Pande is in the north-eastern Indian state of Tripura to assess the law and order situation there.

Nearly 50 people, mostly migrants from West Bengal, have been killed in ethnic violence in Tripura over the past month.

Hours before Mr Pande arrived in the state capital Agartala, separatists killed a leader of a new tribal party that won the recent elections to the tribal areas council.

Mr Pande's visit comes amidst increased ethnic violence and insurgency by separatist rebels.

Tripura is seeking the redeployment of some army battalions which were taken out of the state during last year's Kargil conflict.

A decision on the issue is likely to be taken during discussion between Mr Pande and the state government.

Tribal leader killed

Meanwhile, police said rebels of the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) shot dead Khirode Debbarma, a leader of the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) in Tripura's troubled western region of Kalyanpur.

The ATTF had boycotted last month's elections to the state's tribal areas autonomous council.

The IPTF had won the elections with the support of another outlawed organisation, the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT).

In recent months, NLFT rebels have attacked ATTF bases in Tripura and in the neighbouring districts of Bangladesh and killed some of its senior leaders.

Police said that since the ATTF was not strong enough to attack NLFT bases, they were attacking the IPFT leaders.

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See also:

21 May 00 | South Asia
Analysis: Tripura's tribal strife
10 May 00 | South Asia
Hostages released in Tripura
14 Apr 00 | South Asia
Three killed by Tripura rebels
24 Mar 00 | South Asia
Tripura rebels kill five
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