Agartala, Nov 24 : The agitation and indefinite shutdown, which began in the Kanchanpur sub-division opposing the BJP-led Tripura governments decision to rehabilitate thousands of Reang tribal refugees, were suspended after nine days on Tuesday.
The Reang tribal refugees sheltered in seven relief camps in two northern Tripura sub-divisions had fled to adjoining Mizoram 23 years ago, following ethnic strife in the state.
The leaders of the Joint Movement Committee (JMC), comprising two organisations -- Nagarik Suraksha Mancha (Citizen Protection Forum) and Mizo Convention, both representing the non-tribals and Lusai tribals, which spearheaded the indefinite shutdown since November 16 -- would hold a meeting with Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb in Agartala on Tuesday evening.
Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma, Law and Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath and top officials of the government would also remain present in the crucial meeting.
JMC's Joint Convener Sushanta Bikash Barua and Chairman Ziramthiyama Pachu told the media that they have suspended the shutdown and would hold a meeting with the Chief Minister.
"BJP MLA Bhagaban Das as an emissary of the state government held two marathon meetings with us till late Monday night. If the state government remains firm on its decision to rehabilitate 6,000 Reang tribal refugees only in Kanchanpur sub-division, we would again start our agitation," Barua told the media.
Clearing the doubts, the state government said in a statement that it has identified various locations spread across six of the eight districts of Tripura for the resettlement of the Reang tribal refugees.
"The claims that the resettlement would take place in any one district or sub-division are completely false," said the statement issued on late Monday night.
The violent agitations in Kanchanpur and Panisagar, both North Tripura districts adjoining Mizoram, caused two deaths -- fire-fighter Biswajit Debbarma (41) and agitator Srikanta Das (45) -- besides injuring 32 others, including security personnel, fire-fighters and protesters besides damaging many police and private vehicles on Saturday and Sunday.
Tripura government spokesman and Law and Education Minister, Ratan Lal Nath, said the state government would provide Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of both the deceased.
"A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the police firing that caused the death of Srikanta Das," Nath told IANS.
Normal life has been crippled in northern Tripura's Kanchanpur sub-division with simmering tensions during the past more than one week.
The JMC has been agitating for the past three months and had called an indefinite shutdown since November 16 in the Kanchanpur sub-division protesting against the Tripura and Central governments' decision to rehabilitate nearly 35,000 Reang tribal refugees who had fled from Mizoram in 1997 due to ethnic violence.
Since November 19, the agitations spread to the nearby sub-divisions and districts, including Panisagar, as the state administration did not take swift measures to quell the situation and hold talks with the protesters. It turned violent on Saturday when the police had to open fire on the agitating mob which attacked the security forces in Panisagar.
Earlier, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had said in Agartala that the process of rehabilitation of the tribal refugees got delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the Centre and the state government were committed to settle these migrants in Tripura.
Barua said they had earlier welcomed the state government's decision of rehabilitating a small number of tribal refugees in Kanchanpur.
He said, "Considering the area and demography of the Kanchanpur sub-division, we had urged the government several times to rehabilitate not more than 500 refugee families here, but the government unilaterally initiated the process of settling 6,000 tribal families in the area." An agreement was signed in January this year by the Chief Secretaries of Mizoram, Tripura and the representatives of the refugees in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to end the 23-year-old crisis by rehabilitating around 35,000 refugees from 5,400 families belonging to the Reang tribal community in Tripura.
As per the agreement, which came after the Tripura CM in November 2019 had agreed to accept the tribal refugees, the Reangs, and rehabilitate them in Tripura and provide financial aid for their rehabilitation. They will be included as voters in Tripura as per the agreement.
The Centre has announced a Rs 600 crore package for the settlement of the Bru tribals, recognised as a primitive tribe in Tripura. Of the package, Rs 150 lakh will be earmarked to the Tripura government for land acquisition and the rest would be spent for the welfare of these tribals.