AGARTALA: The Tipra Indigenous Students Federation (TISF), the student arm of Tripura’s opposition TIPRA Motha, has begun an indefinite statewide protest, marking a significant escalation in the Kokborok language script controversy.
Taking to the streets, TISF members have blocked national highways and railways across various regions of the state since the crack of dawn on Monday.
Their agitation stems from the dispute surrounding the use of the Kokborok script, which serves as the common language for the majority of Tripura’s tribal population.
While the protest has garnered attention, authorities have reported no instances of violence thus far.
To ensure the continuity of essential services, exemptions have been made for emergency vehicles, including fire service vehicles, ambulances, and vehicles associated with wedding ceremonies, milk distribution, and water supply.
However, in a notable disruption, students are barred from attending their scheduled examinations in schools and colleges during the protest period.
Tripura University (Central University) has taken proactive measures in response to the unrest, postponing all undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma examinations until further notice.
The crux of the conflict traces back to January when the Tripura Board of Secondary Education (TBSE) chief mandated the use of Bengali script for writing Kokborok papers in Class 10 and 12 board examinations, slated to commence from March 1 and 2.
This directive, attributed to a shortage of qualified evaluators for Roman script, sparked immediate backlash from TIPRA Motha and various social organisations.
Subsequently, amidst mounting pressure, the TBSE chief relented, initially allowing students to write in their preferred script.
However, subsequent instructions from higher authorities compelled a reversal of this decision, reinstating the mandate for Bengali script until the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) provides clarity on the matter.
“The state government has already reached out to the CBSE regarding this issue. Until we receive further guidance from the CBSE, students will be required to write in Bengali script,” affirmed the TBSE chief.
Echoing this sentiment, the state education board reiterated its ongoing communication with New Delhi to seek clearance and guidelines on the use of the Roman script for Kokborok papers.