One killed, more than 20 injured in police firing at protesters in Tripura


Protesters oppose government plan to settle Mizoram Bru refugees in Kanchanpur subdivision of North Tripura district.

One person was killed and two others sustained bullet injuries in Agartala on November 21, 2020 when security personnel opened fire at demonstrators protesting against a government plan to settle Mizoram Bru refugees in Kanchanpur subdivision of North Tripura district in the State. The deceased has been identified as Srikanta Das (45), a resident of Kanchanpur.

As many as 23 people including 15 police and fire service personnel were injured in subsequent clashes between police and the protesters. The injured have been admitted to two hospitals in the district.

Also read | More Tripura communities oppose Bru resettlement

Police said a staff member of the fire service department was critically wounded. He later succumbed to his injuries. Officials said fire service personnel were called apprehending arson by protesters.

Police claimed the protesters damaged five security vehicles. Meanwhile, the State government announced a compensation of โ‚น5 lakh to the family of the deceased.

The shooting incident occurred when at least 15 thousand protesters marched to Chamtilla in adjacent Panisagar subdivision to block the Assam-Agartala National Highway. The Joint Movement Committee (JMC) spearheaded the protest and enforced an indefinite strike in Kanchanpur against the State governmentโ€™s plan to rehabilitate 5,000 Brus in the subdivision.

Explained | Who are the Brus, and what are the implications of settling them in Tripura?

The strike continued for the sixth consecutive day on November 21. JMC leaders alleged that Tipura State Rifles personnel opened fire on a peaceful road blockade agitation, but police officials claimed they fired in self defence after protesters became unruly.

Eyewitnesses said the securitymen resorted to firing at around 1 p.m. to disperse the protesters from the highway, which is known as a lifeline of the State. The protesters resorted to stone pelting and police retaliated with baton charge causing injuries on both sides, they said.

North Tripura district administration has imposed Section 144 of CrPC in Panisagar for an indefinite period and more security personnel have been sent to Panisagar and Kanchanpur.

Also read | Locals of same tribe oppose Bru resettlement in Tripura

The Congress, the Amra Bangali and some other parties have demanded a judicial enquiry by a sitting judge of the High Court into the incident.

The Tripura government had selected 12 places including Kanchanpur to rehabilitate some 35,000 Mizoram Brus currently housed in six makeshift camps in Kanchanpur.

In January 2020, Union Home Minister Amit Shah presided over the signing of a quadripartite accord between his Ministry, State governments of Mizoram and Tripura and leaders of Bru refugees to permanently settle evacuees in Tripura, ending a 23-year-old imbroglio. The refugee leaders recently met State Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar to request implementation of the accord.

Besides protesting the proposed rehabilitation of the Brus, the JMC also demanded compensation for non-tribal families who they said had been evicted to set up camps for the Brus displaced from Mizoram in 1997.

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