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One killed in police firing on protesters in Tripura

An injured fire service personnel being taken to hospital, at Panisagar in North Tripura district on Saturday. – PTI
 AGARTALA, Nov 21 - One protester was killed in police firing when a mob went on a rampage during a protest against the government’s decision to rehabilitate Bru refugees in Tripura today. At least 25 persons also sustained injuries when supporters of the Joint Movement Committee and security personnel clashed at Panisagar area of Unakoti district this morning. The deceased has been identified as Sukanta Das (45), a carpenter of Dasda area in Kanchanpur sub-division.

 Senior police officials have rushed to the spot with reinforcements to defuse tension. Sources said trouble started when thousands of Joint Movement Committee supporters defied prohibitory orders and proceeded towards Dharmanagar from Kanchanpur to block the national highway. Security personnel stopped the protesters at Pansagar, which led to the bloody clash. As the situation spiralled out of control, security personnel burst tear gas shells, but it failed to disperse the protesters.

As the situation worsened further, the security personnel opened fire as a last resort, which resulted in the death of the agitator.

As per reports, at least 25 agitators and security personnel suffered multiple injuries in the clash, triggering panic in the area. Two injured protesters and one fire service personnel have been referred to the GBP Hospital following deterioration in their condition.

The today’s incident came in the wake of a failed attempt by District Magistrate (DM), North, Nagesh Kumar to persuade the leaders of the Joint Movement Committee to call off their protest.

The indefinite strike called against Bru resettlement in Kanchanpur sub-division entered the sixth day today. An uneasy calm prevails in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions as the people joined the protest in large numbers.

Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath termed the death of the protester and the violence as “unfortunate and uncalled for”.

“Soon after the incident, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb held a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Verma to review the situation, and appealed to the people to remain calm and obey the law,” Nath said.

He said the government has already ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident to identify the people involved in creating unrest in Kanchanpur and Panisagar over Bru resettlement.

Nath added the government would provide Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the family of the deceased and also bear the medical expenses of the injured.

Police said the tension started brewing in the area after some refugees attacked an employee of a filling station and targeted 36 houses on Tuesday evening, forcing over 110 people to flee to safer places.

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