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President Murmu confers Padma Shri to late NC Debbarma, Bikram Bahadur Jamatia of Tripura

President of India Droupadi Murmu conferred Padma Shri to Narendra Chandra Debbarma (Posthumous) in field of Public Affairs, and Bikram Bahadur Jamatia in field of Social Work from Tripura in Civil Investiture Ceremony in New Delhi on Wednesday (March 22).

Tripura Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha recalled their contributions in the development of Janajati people of Tripura and thanked the Union Government for conferring prestigious Padma Shri Awards to late NC Debbarma and Bikram Bahadur Jamatia.

Narendra Chandra Debbarma, the president of the Indigenous Peoples Front (IPFT) of Tripura was a well-known politician.

Born on 28th August 1942 in Khowai District of Tripura, Debbarma completed graduation from University of Calcutta in the year 1962. He did Government Service in the Food & Civil Supplies Department and All India Radio. He retired as Station Director, All India Radio, Agartala, on 31st August 2002. During his govt. service life, he was associated with Tripura Tribal Employees Association also known as “Tripura Upajati Karmachari Samiti”,an Affiliated Organization of All India Federation of SC & ST, Backwards and Minorities Employees Welfare Association of New Delhi. He served as president of the “Tripura Upajati karmachari Samiti” and actively participated for the welfare of Tribal Karmacharis.

Debbarma was also a writer and wrote several books on Central govt. concern of illegal land acquisition and its direction to state govt. of Tripura Autonomous State as per Article 244(A) of constitution and why it is necessary, Towards Greater Autonomy,  Takhumsabodol (Balaka) -a translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Balaka poems in Kokborok Language, Koklam (A handbook of spoken Kokborok) published by Directorate of Research, Department of Welfare for Schedule Tribes and Schedule Castes, Government of Tripura, Role of folk literature and culture in human civilization  as a contribution of write up for Centenary Celebration of Kokborok language of the state held during 22nd Dec to 24th Dec-2000. He also contributed in publishing of Book on Customary laws of the Tripuris, Jamatia, Mogs and Reangs of Tripura with special reference to their land holding system as a Research Officer.

After retirement, Debbarma also served as Addl. Chief Executive Officer, Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC). In 2008 he contested State Assembly Election from 18 Charilam (ST) Assembly Constituency from Indigenous Nationalist Party Of Tripura (INPT) party but lost the election. In 2009 he floated a new tribal party namely Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) with new vision and Ideology of “Tipra Land” constituting the TTAADC area, a separate state for better governance and development of Indigenous peoples of Tripura residing mostly in TTAADC areas. In the year 2018, under his leadership BJP & IPFT Alliance Government in Tripura was formed. In the new government he was sworn in as State cabinet Minister of Revenue and later on also given the portfolio of Forest Minister. He was Minister from 9 March 2018 to 1 January 2023. He was easily accessible to public and served for betterment of every section of the society and people of Tripura.

Debbarma passed away on 1st January, 2023.

Another Padma Shri awardee from Tripura, Bikram Bahadur Jamatia is a retired Under Secretary, Government of Tripura, former Okra, Jamatia Hoda (Community Chief of Jamatia Community) & Founder President, Janajati Faith & Culture protection Forum, Social Service. He is known for his works for tribal communities of North East India.

Born on 1st October, 1939, Jamatia joined in Government Service as Tribal Colony Supervisor. Later he joined in Civil Secretariat service in the year 1967, where he formed Tribal Employees organization known as TUKS (Tripura Upajati Karmachari Samiti). He retired from service in 1997 as Under Secretary. Just a month later he was selected as Okra (Community Chief) of Jamatia Hoda (Community).

Jamatia found that extremist in the area had destroyed peaceful community system. He formed thousands of community volunteer force to counter terrorism. He was provided with personal security by Government. In the long run extremists were compelled to leave Tripura & took shelter in Bangladesh and to surrender to the Government. His five years tenure of Community Chief was a great achievement and appreciated by all concerned quarters.

By dint of these activities, there was a call from all Janajati leaders of North East seven sister states to form a united organization to restore Janajaties faith & culture. Accordingly, an organization named "Janajati Faith & Culture protection forum was formed in 2002. He became founder president of the forum. The activities of the forum spread all over North East state of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram raising a slogan "Jagta Purbanchal" promising to restore Janajaties faith & culture.

In 2006 in Guwahati in Nehru Stadium in a gathering of historic movement from 24 to 28 December 2006, a declaration was made that all Janajaties customary laws to be enacted in all 6th scheduled areas of District Council. Accordingly, Janajati forum activities are going on.

Jamatia was honoured with many awards such as Janajati Krantikari Samman given by Punbanchal Kalyan Ashram Kalkata & Howrah Mahanagar (2001), World Council of Ancient Tradition & Culture - by ICCS, Nagpur (2003), Prestigious VKIC Samman (2004), N.R. works Samman by A.B.V.K.A. Golden Jubillee function (2004), 11th Baurao Deorash Samman (2006), Guruji Puruskar (2008), Uttar Purba Bharat Gyan Gyapan Govesana Kendra (2013), My Home India ONE India Award (2015) and National Integration Award (2018) and Pandit Dindayal Upadhyay Govt, of Tripura (2018) etc.

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