Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura
Hundreds of locals on Tuesday came out in protest against the resettlement of the Bru displaced in Ambassa. They also blocked the Ambassa-Gandacherra road at Dhalai district of Tripura for hours demanding the decision to resettle Brus in the area be revoked.
Recently, the government had decided to set up a camp for the Brus in the Harincharra area. However, the area is inhabited by people who practice shifting cultivation. The administration had decided in secret to set up Bru refugee camps in the area keeping the locals in dark. However, when they came to know of such developments on Monday 23rd of August they blocked the local Ambassa-Gandacherra road since dawn.
According to the local inhabitants, if the camp is set up in the area, their spaces for shifting cultivation will be constricted thereby affecting their livelihoods.
Due to the road blockade, the movement of vehicles came to a standstill on both sides. Following wich an official from the sub-divisional administration along with a huge contingent of security personnel reached the spot to control the situation.
The agitators were somehow managed to discuss the matter with the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM). Accordingly, a ten-member delegation met the SDM and placed their written demand of cancellation of the decision. They also demanded that, if their demands are not met then they would resume the protests once again. Later, when the SDM informed them that she had referred the matter to the higher authorities the blockade was called off.
Why the administration had decided on such a sensitive issue secretly without taking the locals into confidence has created confusion and mystery among many. According to experts, if the administration discussed the matter with the local people, it might have resulted in a different outcome acceptable to all. What remains to be seen is the course of action taken by the authorities on resettling Brus in the area without causing friction with the existing inhabitants.