Twenty families fled their homes at Southeast Laxmipur village in Dasda Rural Development Block of Tripura’s north district after a man was assaulted during an ongoing strike against the state’s decision to permanently settle over 5,000 Bru migrants in Kanchanpur.
The state police has, however, claimed situation is well under control as heavy force of state police and Tripura State Rifles (TSR) contingents were deployed, since the assault was reported.
“We have got section 144 imposed in the area. However, over 2,000 local people joined movement on the streets, raising slogans today. However, there was no sort of untoward incident or disorderly behaviour. Adequate security deployment is made; situation is under control”, Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Bikramjit Shukladas told reporters this evening.
However, Sushanta Baruah, convener of Joint Movement Committee (JMC), which has called the strike, claimed over 300 families were forced to flee Laxmipur village out of panic in the aftermath of assault on the pump operator. Accusing Bru migrants of perpetrating the assault, Baruah said stokes were pelted on local households and livestock stolen in a bid to terrorize the villagers.
“300 families from the village have fled their homes and taken shelter at Durgaram Reang Para School in the vicinity. There is a palpable fear there”, Baruah claimed.
Bru migrants have denied the allegations and said they have faith in the government to see through their resettlement process.
“We haven’t attacked anyone. This is a false, malicious and very unfortunate allegation. We have faith on the government for doing whatever is necessary for our peaceful resettlement”, Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha said.
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 central government and Bru migrants. The centre declared a Rs. 600 crore package for resettling these migrants in clusters in the state.
The JMC leaders today also claimed that local CPIM and BJP leaders have come together to support their agitation. Naming specific BJP and CPIM leaders who supposedly joined their strike picketing and protest, they demanded that the state government should meet their demands if the movement has to be called back.
“We are voicing our protest peacefully. But if the government doesn’t consider fulfilling our demands in written form, we shall not withdraw the movement”, JMC leader Baruah said.
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