Two people were killed and 23 were injured, five seriously, in North Tripura as police opened fire after a protest allegedly turned violent on Saturday. Reinforcements have been sent to affected parts of the state.
According to the police, action was taken after agitators reportedly started pelting stones and blocked National Highway 8 in Panisagar town - 4 hours north of state capital Agartala.
Police sources confirmed to NDTV that 45-years-old Srikanta Das was shot dead and five others were seriously injured when police personnel fired at a group of people protesting in support of an indefinite bandh, or shutdown, against rehabilitation of Bru refugees. According to sources, the protestors are said to have also attacked police personnel.
One personnel from the fire department, who was seriously wounded in the clashes, died of his injuries on Sunday.
In view of the violence, a huge contingent of security forces, including troopers of the Tripura State Rifles, has been mobilised in Panisagar and neighbouring Kanchanpur areas which remain tense, police added.
A magistrate-level probe has been ordered by the government and large gatherings have been banned in parts of North Tripura district. The government announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the family of the person who died in the protest.
The shutdown - opposing the Central government's decision to rehabilitate around 35,000 tribal Bru refugees from Mizoram back to Tripura - has been in place since November 16. It has stoked tension and crippled normal life.
Since Monday, around 12,000 to 15,000 protestors, including students, women and children, have been defying prohibitory orders by organising rallies and demonstrations in front of government offices and markets.
The law and order situation deteriorated on Tuesday after a group of tribal refugees attacked 26 non-tribal houses and a fuel pump on Tuesday evening forcing 110 people to flee to safer places, the police said.
Twenty-three years ago, in October 1997, thousands of Bru tribals fled to neighbouring Mizoram after an ethnic conflict in Tripura. Their relocation from refugee camps - a pet project of Home Minister Amit Shah - was seen as a major success of the Narendra Modi government in the country's northeastern states, but the locals are strongly opposed to it.
The Nagarik Suraksha Mancha (Citizen Protection Forum) and Mizo Convention, both representing the non-tribals and Lushai tribals, are part of the JMC who are behind this indefinite strike in the area.