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Large-scale extortion creates panic in Tripura’s interior areas
 AGARTALA, Aug 25 - With the elections to the Tripura Autonomous District Council knocking at the door, the State’s interior areas have become a hunting ground for gangs which have resorted to large-scale extortion.

 People living in tribal-dominated interior areas under Mohanpur subdivision, outlying areas of Ambassa in Dhalai district and interior areas under Gandacherra subdivision have received extortion notices for payment of hefty amounts of money.

Besides the extortion notices, people there have also been threatened with murder in case of failure to pay the money in a given time.

Official sources keeping a tab on activities of militants and their accomplices said people living in Esrai, Barkathal, Kutnabari, Simna colony, interiors of Hezamara blocks under Mohanpur subdivision have been slapped extortion notices.

People living in hilly areas surrounding Ambassa and other interior villages under Gandacherra subdivision have reportedly received similar extortion notices, sources said.

In the last week, a large number of NLFT rebels led by Shabir Debbarma laid down arms at an official ceremony held at Ambassa in Dhalai district but the flurry of extortion notices slapped thereafter have caught the administration by surprise.

“There is no solid information to suggest that any organised militant group is behind the distribution of extortion notices but we are still checking,” said a senior police officer here today.

The police suspect that political activists may be behind the extortion notices to mobilise funds for the upcoming ADC elections.

By-poll on Sept 23: The Election Commission today declared by-election schedule for Badharghat Assembly of West Tripura along with three more Assembly constituencies – Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, Pala in Kerala and Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh.

The by-elections to all four Assembly constituencies will be held on September 23 while counting will be held on September 27.

The official notification for the by-elections will be issued on August 28, commencing with the filing of nomination papers by prospective candidates.

The last date for filing nomination is scheduled for September 4 while scrutiny will be done on the following day and the last date for withdrawal is on September 7.

The model code of conduct will come into effect only in the by-poll-bound areas from August 28.

The by-election to Badhargaht Assembly constituency has become necessary following the death of Dilip Sarkar, who contested the 2018 Assembly elections on a BJP ticket.

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