The toll due to violence in Tripura reached two on Sunday as a Fire Services officer succumbed to his injuries after being beaten during protests against the state’s decision to settle Mizoram’s Bru refugees in Kanchanpur sub-division of the state, reported PTI. On Saturday, police baton-charged and fired at people protesting against the resettlement of the displaced Bru tribal community members.
The fire official, identified as Biswajit Debbarma, was assaulted at Panisagar in north Tripura when he was on the way home, police said. The other person killed in the firing was identified as a 40-year-old carpenter, Srikanta Das.
Debbarma was taken to the GBP Hospital with head injuries and polytrauma. He died early on Sunday, Sub-Divisional Police Officer of New Capital Complex Piya Madhuri Majumder told the news agency.
During Saturday’s violence, the police said they had to retaliate because the protestors turned violent. The crowd had blocked the highway in North Tripura’s Panisagar area “without permission”, an officer said. At least 15 police officers and firefighters were injured in the incident.
Joint Movement Committee, the organisation that called the protest, claimed that the police fired at peaceful demonstrators. On Wednesday, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure were imposed in Kanchanpur in Tripura after a man was allegedly assaulted during the protest against the resettlement plan.
The resettlement plan
Over 32,000 Brus who fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of adjoining Mizoram in 1997 are being resettled in Tripura as part of a four-corner agreement between the state governments of Tripura, Mizoram, the Centre and Bru migrants. The government declared a Rs 600-crore package for resettling these migrants who have been living in six relief camps since October 1997.
The Joint Movement Committee and other civil groups in Tripura fear the resettlement plan would disrupt the local demography, social, ecological and environmental balance of the region. They demand that the Brus be settled across all the eight districts of Tripura instead concentrating them largely in North Tripura.
On November 16, a delegation of Bru leaders had met Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar to apprise him about the situation and their demands. Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum General Secretary Bruno Msha had requested Kumar to consider four alternative resettlement spots out of the 12 decided by the government. The leaders of the tribal community also demanded equal package for all displaced Brus, among other benefits.
Apart from this, the migrants reiterated their demand for the immediate issuance of Scheduled Tribe certificates, permanent residence certificates and enrolment in ration cards and electoral rolls to enable them to enjoy government scheme benefits.