Northeast Tripura

Tripura begins magisterial probe into Panisagar police firing for anti-Bru settlement protests

Tripura government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the shooting at protestors on National Highway 8 near Panisagar town of North Tripura last Saturday that had spiralled out of proportion resulting in the death of two persons including a fireman and 23 others injured.

Last Saturday, a highway blockade was organised by the Joint Movement Committe of Bengali and Mizo organisations for people residing in Kanchanpur and Panisagar subdivision against the resettlement of bulk of the Bru refugees in the two subdivisions as part of an indefinite strike. This however went violent after an alleged open firing by security forces — state police and Tripura State Rifles (TSR).

District Magistrate and Collector for North Tripura district, Nagesh Kumar B had on Sunday in the district headquarters Dharmanagar, said he has already initiated the probe.

Addressing media on findings of the initial probe, Nagesh said, the security forces fired after the protestors attacked the Panisagar Sub Divisional Police Officer’s vehicle.

“The protesters attacked the SDPO and others in Panisagar. In response, the security guards of the SDPO and other TSR jawans open fired in which one person died,” he said.

The Tripura government has announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the civilian, 47-year-old Srikanta Das of Dasda near Dharmanagar, who died in the alleged firing on the spot of the incident near Panisagar Holy Cross School.

Nagesh said the police is also probing into the two vehicles that had come from Unokoti district to participate in the protest for a cause that is confined to North Tripura district only.

“There were security forces deployed in the protest sight since before the blockade but those who came and joined had outnumbered the crowd,” he said.

Nagesh briefed media that among the injured, seven were civilians and the rest were TSR, police and fire services personnel.

“All of the injured were taken to the Panisagar hospital immediately after the incident. Eight of them were later moved to district hospital (in Dharmanagar) after their condition worsened,” Nagesh said.

The fire services personnel, Biswajit Debbarma, who was grievously injured in the clash, succumbed to his injuries in GBP hospital in state capital Agartala on Sunday morning where he was rushed after his vitals dropped.

Tripura royal scion and founding chairperson of The Indigenous Progressive Alliance (TIPRA), Pradyut Manikya Dev Barma condoling Debbarma’s demise granted Rs 50,000 to his family.

“Those leaders who broke the law and killed an innocent fireman will have to pay the price . TIPRA DEMANDS criminal action and arrest against these people and organisation who despite repeated requests broke the law . TIPRA has also decided to give Rs 50,000 in support of the family of Biswajit Debbarma as a sign of solidarity in their moment of grief . I appeal for all to maintain peace once again,” the scion announced.

According to sources close to Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s office, the CM will soon have a meeting with the protesting JMC leaders.

The JMC demands to only rehabilitate 500 out of the 3,900 Bru refugee families who fled to Tripura during 1997 exodus from Mizoram in the Panisagar and Kanchanpur subdivisions that opposes the allotment of more than 500 rehabilitation facilities in those subdivisions as per the quadripartite agreement signed by Centre, Tripura, Mizoram and the Bru refugees last January.

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