Man assaulted during strike, Section 144 imposed in Tripura’s Kanchanpur sub-division

Agartala, Nov 18 (PTI) The Kanchanpur administration in North Tripura district has imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPc for 24 hours in the sub-division after a man was allegedly assaulted during a strike against the government’s decision to settle 6,000 displaced Brus in the area, an official said.

The orders prohibiting the assembly of more than five people will be in force till 11.59 pm on Wednesday, the official said.

Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Police officer (SDPO) Bikramjit Suklabaidya said, a pump operator identified as Subal Dey, was assaulted at Purba Laxmipur village by a group of local people when he went there to perform his duties during an indefinite shutdown called by the Joint Movement Committee (JMC) on Tuesday.

Sushanta Barua, JMC spokesman, alleged that displaced Brus, who are lodged in rehabilitation camps of the subdivision, had “brutally” attacked the pump operator, who is now admitted in Kanchanpur hospital.

A group of Bru people allegedly stole four cows from a field in the same village on Tuesday and 35 people have taken shelter at Durgarampara High School at Dasda block of the subdivision, the SDPO said.

Adequate security forces were deployed in the area, but the villagers who had taken shelter in the school refused to return home, he said.

The JMC spokesperson alleged that the Brus had attacked at least 75 houses in Purba Laxmipara village on Tuesday following which 273 families were “forced” to leave their homes and take shelter in the educational institute.

Meanwhile, normal life was paralysed in the sub-division for the third day on Wednesday due to the indefinite shut down against the governments decision to rehabilitate thousands of displaced Brus from neighbouring Mizoram.

Vehicles did not ply while markets and business establishments remained closed and attendance in government offices was thin.

Strike supporters, including women and children, organised protest rallies and demonstrations in front of government offices and markets.

The Tripura government has decided to settle around 6,000 displaced Bru families in Kanchanpur sub-division, an official said.

The JMC, comprising Nagarik Surakhsa Mancha and Mizo Convention of the sub-division, had organised a series of protests demanding that the Brus be resettled in all the eight districts of Tripura.

JMC chairman Zairemthiama Pachuau had told newsmen recently that the North Tripura district magistrate had assured that 1,500 families would be settled in the area.

“But now the government is trying to settle 6,000 families,” he said.

The Bru issue had started in September of 1997 following the demands of a separate autonomous district council, by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura.

About 30,000 Bru tribals had then fled Mizoram due to the ethnic tension there and took shelter in refugee camps in Tripura.

The first attempt to repatriate the Brus was made in November, 2009 by the Centre along with the governments of Tripura and Mizoram. However, the effort met with little success.

An agreement signed in 2018 to send back the Bru refugees to Mizoram could not be implemented due to their protests.

The Centre then signed a fresh agreement in January this year according to which the Brus will not be forced to return. The Centre had sanctioned Rs 600 crore as rehabilitation package for the displaced Brus as a final solution to the vexed problem after the agreement.

Officials said that 15 places have been selected for rehabilitation of the Brus in districts of North Tripura, Dhalai, Unakoti, Sipahijala and Khowai on September 19 after a series of discussions with Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath, Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar and some revenue officials.