As demonstrations in Kanchanpur area of North Tripura district continued on Sunday against the government's decision to rehabilitate Bru refugees from Mizoram in the state, various tribal organisations in Agartala, including the ruling BJP's ally, Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), alleged that the government failed to handle the situation properly, leading to the death of two persons and injury to 32 others on Saturday.
A police-public clash took place on Saturday, during which the security personnel had resorted to firing to remove the blockade of a national highway over the resettlement issue of Bru refugees. A magisterial probe has been initiated into the incident.
On Sunday, a Joint Action Committee of civil society and heads of various tribal communities condemned the incident during a press conference and demanded that the state government investigate the entire incident.
Mongal Debbarma, the spokesperson of the IPFT, said that it was the duty of the government to handle the situation without any delay. "We are demanding an ex gratia of Rs 20 lakh for the next of kin of each dead person from the government. The culprits must be arrested immediately, otherwise, the IPFT will go for a strong movement," he said, adding the party, however, strongly condemns the agitation by the Nagoric Suraksha Mancha and Jampui Mizo Convention.
Pratik Dev Barma, leader of the BJP's tribal wing Bharatiya Janajati Morcha, also condemned the incident, alleging that the agitation is being organised to sabotage the central and state government's decision to settle the displaced Bru people from Mizoram in Tripura.
Dilip Debbarma, president of Kshatriya Samaj, said that the manner in which a firefighter was beaten to death and his bike put on fire by the agitators shows that the protest was not a peaceful one.
"Everyone has a right to protest peacefully and democratically but who has given them the right to take someone's life and why the state government is silent over it. Why the government is not taking any step against those who are continuing the indefinite strike and taking part in the protest, going against the Disaster Management Act during this pandemic," he added.
He feared that this agitation may "spread across the state and take a communal turn if the state government does not handle the situation immediately with a strong hand to restore normalcy".
Sunil Debbarma, member of the Joint Action Committee and Tribal Students Federation president, alleged that the Nagoric Suraksha Mancha and Jampui Mizo Convention are responsible for Saturday's deaths and legal action should be taken against the leaders of both the organisations.
Terming the movement to be communal, he demanded that immediate steps should be taken for rehabilitation of the displaced Bru people. "Due to the continuous agitation at Kanchanpur, the government rationing system has totally collapsed and it should be restored," he added.