Tripura: FIR against 60 Brus for protest in state


AGARTALA, July 21, 2018: An FIR against 60 persons were registered by the police who held Bru refugee leaders hostage in transit camps for nearly six hours on Monday and forced them to withdraw from the quadripartite repatriation agreement signed between the Centre and the state governments of Mizoram, Tripura and Bru refugees, official sources said.

While speaking to the media, Assistant inspector-general Smriti Ranjan Das, said that the police registered a suo motu FIR at Kanchanpur police station in North Tripura district against four Bru refugee leaders and several other associates who held leaders of the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) hostage in the organisation's office at Naisingpara refugee camp on July 16 for nearly six hours.

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The forum comprises Bru refugees living in Tripura.

During ethnic clashes in 1997, over 35,000 Brus fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram.

After seven phases of repatriation, over 32,000 refugees are still stranded in Tripura. The Centre offered a package of Rs 1.5 lakh for housing assistance, Rs 4 lakh for sustenance, free ration for two years, Rs 5,000 per month to each refugee family, among other benefits earlier this month.

While the forum's leaders agreed and signed the repatriation agreement, several smaller groups inside the refugee camps geared up in protest and demanded more sops in the package.

They sought cluster villages in Mizoram and said they apprehended ethnic clashes after repatriation.

In the face of severe agitation, the forum's president, Apeto Sawibunga, signed a document which said, "I, A. Sawibunga, president of the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples'Forum (MBDPF) and one of the signatories of Four-Corner Agreement have withdrawn the agreement, which was signed on July 3 in New Delhi, involving the MHA, government of Tripura, government of Mizoram and the forum today on July 16 due to a strong agitation against MBDPF leaders from the general/mass public in the presence of the officials of the government of Tripura."

The document was also counter-signed by the sub-divisional magistrate of Kanchanpur Sajal Biswas, sub-divisional police officer Kiran Kumar and deputy collector Animesh Debbarma.

With severe discontentment running among refugees, many forum leaders have shifted elsewhere and skipped sleeping in their makeshift huts in refugee camps, officials said.

Kanchanpur police official said, "The agreement was signed by four parties, all of whom are still consenting. The agitating refugee leaders held a rally without permission, held the MBDPF leaders hostage, forced them to withdraw from the agreement and obstructed government officials from duty. We have lodged a complaint against 60 such persons. Many of them are still being identified".

Source: The Telegraph

Featured image: The Telegraph