Turmoil in the North East: One killed, 32 injured in police firing in Tripura

Police opened fire on people protesting resettlement of Bru refugees in the state; trolls spread fake news with communal hues


On Saturday, November 21, police in Chamtila in Panisagar subdivision of Tripura opened fire on a group of over 3,000 people who were blocking National Highway number 8 that connects the state with Assam. The people were protesting the resettlement of Bru refugees in Tripura’s North district.

The Bru tribe had been displaced from their traditional home in Mizoram in wake of an ethnic conflict in 1997. Over 40,000 Bru people were forced to live as refugees in relief camps in Tripura and even parts of Assam. Though many were repatriated to Mizoram, last year, even today, some 32,000 Bru refugees remain in Tripura. 

In January 2020, a quadripartite agreement detailing terms of resettlement and financial aid, was signed in the presence of Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Mizoram Chief Minister Pu Zoramthanga and leaders of Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF), the largest forum of Bru migrants. A Rs 600 crore package was announced for the resettlement of Brus.

Reportedly 5,000 refugees were to be settled in Tripura’s North District. This led to a call for a highway blockade by the Joint Movement Committee (JMC) that comprises different groups such as Nagarik Suraksha Mancha and Mizo Convention, that are protesting the resettlement. They fear this influx of refugees would change the demography of the region.

Tripura police released the following statement explaining what transpired on Saturday during the protest: “At around 10.30am, the protesters numbering 3,000 became agitated and broke the barricades set up by the police and also damaged police and fire service vehicles and set them on fire. Police showed utmost restraint and in the beginning used lathicharge and tear gas to disperse the agitating crowd. But they became more aggressive and violent and finding no other way and to protect the life and property and for self-defence, police resorted to firing on the orders of authority.”

However, JMC convenor Sushanta Barua claimed the protests were peaceful and that personnel of the Tripura State Rifles, first lathi charged them and then opened fire. A man identified as Srikanta Das was killed in the violence. 18 other civilians were injured in the clashes.

Biswajit Debbarma from the fire department was also injured grievously and some media reports say that he succumbed to his injuries later. Seven other fire personnel and six security personnel were also injured in the incident.

However, the Panisagar Highway Blockade took a communal hue when trolls started spreading fake news about Bangladeshi’s staring a riot against Hindus. Luckily, the Tripura Police was quick to spot and stop the false news from spreading.



The police further tweeted that action would be taken against rumour mongers:



On November 23, police also sought help from citizens in identifying miscreants at the protest site who caused violence leading to loss of life and property.




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