A dawn-to-dusk strike called by the Joint Movement Committee (JMC), comprising a few local organisations, Tuesday disrupted normal life at Kanchanpur sub-division in northern Tripura, 162 km from capital Agartala. The organisation was protesting against the rehabilitating Mizoram’s Bru migrants in the area.
Nagorik Suraksha Mancha, a newly formed Bengali organisation which held strikes in parts of north and Unakoti district of Tripura in December last year following violence during anti-CAA protests, has been demanding the relocation of Brus from Kachanpur during resettlement process. It joined hands with Mizo Convention to form the JMC which held the strike today.
During the strike, the agitating bodies served a seven-day deadline to the government to reconsider its formula, failing which further movement would be held.
Speaking to reporters, Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Chandni Chandran said while no permission was sought from the local administration for today’s bandh, there was no violence anywhere and no one was detained.
“The strike was peaceful. No violence has been reported from anywhere so far. No permission was sought for the 12-hour strike. However, no violence was there and nobody was detained,” she said.
Bru migrants, who fled ethnic violence in Mizoram in 1997, have been living in six relief camps at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of north Tripura for last 23 years. The Centre signed a four-corner agreement with state governments in Tripura and Mizoram and Bru migrants to resettle them permanently in Tripura instead of providing relief funds and ration for years. The Centre also announced Rs 600 crore package for the resettlement.
Resettling of Brus will put pressure on other communities: JMC
Citing a recent order from the local administration which says that eight out of ten spots where the Brus would be resettled are in Kanchanpur sub-division, Nagorik Suraksha Mancha’s Ranjit Kumar Nath claimed nearly 4,600 Bru families would be settled at Kanchanpur and adjoining areas as per the government formula, which would exert tremendous pressure on non-Bru communities, including Bengalees and Mizos, living there.
“People have supported our strike. We have not seen such support in strikes since long. People of Kanchanpur are seeing they would not be able to live unless our demands of relocating Brus from here are met,” Nath told indianexpress.com.
Nath said they have served a memorandum to Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb objecting to settling Bru families at Kanchanpur and served seven days time for reconsidering the settlement formula, failing which wider agitation would be held.
Reacting to this, the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum (MBDPF) has claimed that their rehabilitation plan is running into hurdles due to frequent and repetitive agitations by the Joint Movement Committee, even as the government is fixing its formula.
“We were proposed 15 locations for resettlement. We have rejected 5 so far due to impracticality and future social, cultural and security concerns. We feel these repetitive and baseless agitations held by the Joint Movement Committee are among the main hindrances for not realizing our rehabilitation process. We feel the state government is going very soft for these people,” MBDPF general secretary Bruno Msha said.
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