Tripura orders magisterial probe into police firing on tribal youths

Agartala, Jan 10 (IANS) The BJP-led Tripura government on Thursday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the police firing on Tuesday injuring six tribal youths, agitating against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said West Tripura District Magistrate Sandeep Mahatme would inquire into the January 8 incidents and submit a report “within the shortest possible time.”

“After getting the report, the government would take appropriate steps and the guilty would not be spared,” Deb told the media before leaving for New Delhi to attend the national council meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Deb, who also holds the home portfolio, said the state government would bear the expenditure of the treatment of the injured youths.

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Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Rajiv Singh said: “Some tribal youths while demonstrating against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill turned violent at Madhab Bari in western Tripura on Tuesday. The police, Tripura State Rifles and CRPF troopers, after taking all necessary steps were unable to control the mob. The police then opened fire injuring six tribal youths, two of them seriously.”

A security man was also injured following an attack by agitators, who also burnt down at least 20 shops in the area. Opposition Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) strongly condemned the police firing and demanded a probe.

Ruling BJP’s partner Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) has demanded a judicial probe into the incident by a sitting High Court judge.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, accused the CPI-M and other opposition parties of provoking the agitators.

Demanding a CBI probe and resignation of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Tripura Student Federation (TSF) General Secretary Sunil Debbarma said the police had opened fire without any provocation.

The TSF is a constituent of the North-East Students Organization (NESO), who on Tuesday called the 11-hour shutdown in the entire north eastern region, comprising seven states, excluding Sikkim, to oppose the Bill.

Various tribal parties in Tripura have strongly opposed the Citizenship Bill.
The IPFT is also a member of Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance NEDA (North East Democratic Alliance), convener of which is BJP-led Assam government’s powerful minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Amid strong opposition by various political parties, including Congress, Left and Trinamool Congress, the Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, that seeks to grant citizenship to migrants from six non-Muslim minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.