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Tripura: Strike by Bengalee, Mizo bodies called off after govt assurance

The group said if their demands are not fulfilled in the next seven days, they will launch an agitation "crippling the district and adjoining areas".

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala | Published: February 26, 2020 3:44:53 pm
Bengalee Mizo bodies in Tripura, Nagarika Suraksha Mancha, bru migrants in tripura, tripura protests, tripura news, indian express, tripura strike The strike was announced at Kanchanpur on February 23. (Express photo)

A joint body of seven organisations — Bengalee body Nagarika Suraksha Mancha and six Mizo NGOs — have called off their indefinite dawn-to-dusk strike supposed to start from Wednesday at Kanchanpur, Jampui Hills and adjoining areas in North Tripura, after assurances from the administration.

The strike was called on three demands — settlement of Mizoram’s Bru migrants away from Kanchanpur, relief for Bengalee families “evicted from their North Tripura homes” by Bru migrants since 2000 and for Mizo families purportedly displaced in North Tripura, and immediate resumption of aid for 93 families who fled their homes after violent anti-CAA protests in December 2019. These families have been living in Anandabazar police station since.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Nagarik Suraksha Mancha president Ranjit Kumar Nath Wednesday said, “We had long meetings with North Tripura district magistrate Raval Hamendra Kumar and the local administration. They have assured resumption of relief supplies for those living in the police station. They also said they would consider the remaining demands. So, we have temporarily suspended the strike for seven days.”

Nath said if their demands are not fulfilled in the next seven days, the joint movement body will launch a full-fledged agitation, “crippling the district and adjoining areas”.

Parts of North Tripura district include the National Highway 08 route, which is considered the lifeline of Tripura. This tiny NE state of 10,486 sqm is landlocked, with Bangladesh on three sides. It is connected with the Indian mainland only through the chicken-neck near Siliguri of West Bengal.

“Trouble between ethnic communities and Bengalees started in Kanchanpur since the arrival of Bru migrants from Mizoram in 1997. So, we want them settled anywhere but here (Kanchanpur),” Nath said.

He also said 13 villages, including 10 Bengalee villages at Kanchanpur and three Mizo villages in Jampui Hills, were forcefully vacated by the Bru migrants. Now, the joint movement body wants the “original residents” rehabilitated there with proper package.

North Tripura district magistrate Raval Hamendra Kumar was unavailable for his comments on the issue. Local authorities at Kanchanpur said on condition of anonymity that necessary steps are being taken to maintain law and order in any situation.

The Mizo organisations that have teamed up with the Nagarik Suraksha Mancha include Mizo Convention, Young Mizo Association, MCW and Mizo Forum. All of them are based in the Jampui Hill range.

Jampui Hills comprise eleven villages, perched high atop the hilly curves. These include Vaisam, Hmawngchuan, Hmunpui, Tlakshi, Vanghmun, Behliangchhip, Banglabazaar, Tlangsang, Sabual, Phuldungsei and Kawnpui. They are mostly inhabited by Reang and Lushai (Mizo) communities.

Nagarik Suraksha Mancha and Unnayan Mancha, both local civil society bodies based in Kanchanpur, had halted Unakoti and North Tripura districts for nearly a week, after a three-day statewide strike called by tribal parties against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in December last year ended with clashes among the communities.

These two organisations have held a series of protests including strike, mass sit-in-demonstration and deputations in four sub-divisions of the state, on 11-point demands, the first of which seeks to immediately repatriate Bru migrants to Mizoram.

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