Updated: January 29, 2019 12:21:34 pm
Twenty-one days after Sumit Debbarma was shot during police action on Citizenship Bill protesters at Madhabbari in West Tripura district, his family is yet to get a reimbursement of the hospital bills, amounting to Rs 96,000, from the state government.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Sumit Debbarma, who is a third-year student at Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) Polytechnic College, Tuesday said he was at home on January 8 when the clashes broke out between Tripura Police, Tripura State Rifles (TSR) and protesters. His college was closed due to a strike called in the Tripura ADC areas. He heard gunshots and went out to see what had happened when he felt a searing pain in his chest as a bullet fired by a TSR jawan hit him.
“I was home. It was around 11:30 am. Usually, I am in college at this time but there was a strike call in ADC that day. So, the college was closed. I heard shots being fired and loud shouting near my home. I went out to see what was happening. There were men fleeing the spot of protest, which is a bit far from our home. I started running back when the bullet hit me,” he said.
Sumit also said that he, along with another person injured in police firing, was being taken to Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital in Agartala from Khumulwng in an ambulance when some security personnel halted the vehicle and ransacked it while assaulting the injured patients inside.
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“They were TSR jawans who blocked the ambulance and attacked us. I was half-conscious inside the ambulance and saw police and TSR personnel beating us. I had a gunshot on my chest at the time,” he said.
Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF), which is a partner student body of North East Students’ Organization (NESO) in Tripura, set up a blockade at Madhbabari in West Tripura district as part of a Northeast strike on January 8. Few hours after it started, few picketers got infuriated and set some shops ablaze. In order to control the mob, police burst tear gas cells and made “blank fires” to disperse the mob. At least 15 persons were injured in police action, including three who sustained bullet injuries.
Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb later announced magisterial enquiry at a press conference to probe the Madhabbari clashes. Later during a visit to the spot, the chief minister said his government would bear all expenses for treatment of the wounded and declared cash compensation of Rs 1 lakh for each with bullet injury and Rs 50 thousand for those whose shops were gutted during the protests.
Sumit’s father Kishore Debbarma Tuesday said he received the assured cash compensation but was yet to receive reimbursement of bills amounting to Rs 96,000 incurred during treatment at Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) in West Bengal.
Meanwhile, Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya has also given the family Rs 20,000 cash assistance.
“We got cash support from government for air fares to Kolkata. We have received Rs 1 lakh cash compensation from the government. There is no news if they will reimburse the treatment bills. The entire money went from our pockets,” he said.
Kishore Debbarma is a junior workshop technician in the Department of Agriculture of the state government.
He also said that TSR went unruly against tribal persons in the locality and targeted them. “TSR is deployed by government to save people. They did not have firing orders. How did they fire upon people? I want justice for my son,” Kishore Debbarma said.
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