Police today arrested around 50 workers of Congress party who have been picketing in favour of dawn to dusk general strike called by the party in Sonamura protesting against the police action on the villagers last evening in Durganagar village in Western border.
As many as 15 villagers including 10 women belong to minority community were injured when police restored to charge baton on the demonstrators to clear the blockade organised by the villagers seeking zero line fencing along Indo-Bangladesh border instead of erecting wire fence across 150 yards.
The Congress held protest march in the village last evening and called 12-hrs general strike seeking action on the accused officials of the police and Tripura State Rifles and also to ensure zero line fencing or to comply with the direction of border management authority, which had committed to erected wire fence within 20 yards.
The former minister and senior Congress leader Billal Mia alleged that the top officials of BSF and border management wing of union home ministry had recently visited the unfenced patches of Sonamura and interacted with the villagers. Apparently, they understood the problem the villagers would face if fencing erect across 150 yards of border and told the villagers that fencing would not be done beyond 20 yards.
"Two days ago Chief Minister visited the villages and directed the administration to finish the fencing work across five villages on about nine kilometres stretches within three months. Accordingly, the district administration yesterday went in the village and attempted to raise fencing at 150 yard distance but villagers opposed. Finally, police assaulted them and clear the blockade and forcefully initiated the fencing work without considering the commitment of border management authority and the demand of villagers," Mia alleged.
He also stated that livelihood of more than 500 families in the five villages of Sonamura would be affected if fencing work is executed in 150 yard inside Indian Territory. The government has not agreed to rehabilitation package for the affected families rather trying to fence out their land without realizing the ground reality, which Congress would not allow to do anyway, Mia added.
"Thousands of families in the bordering villages of Sonamura have been suffering from managing daily life because of 150 yards fencing. They were neither rehabilitated inside India nor ensure their security in the outside of fence. Those families are solely dependent on Bangladesh market, healthcare system, livelihood and education despite having valid Indian citizenship. The border guard of Bangladesh are regularly torture them in different way whenever they were found in Bangladesh territory but the state government did not take any step to help them yet," Mia said.
He further alleged that there is a provision of border gate to allow genuine Indians to move in and move out for their daily activities. But the practical experience is reverse. BSF has been operating the gates will and wish of the jawans not considering the importance of the citizens. As a result, most of the time, fenced out families could get enter into Indian Territory even for shopping, medical need or other purposes.
Similarly, the families whose house fall in Indian side but agriculture field went outside the fence could not go for cultivation regularly because BSF did not maintain time, table and schedule for opening the gate, he alleged and added, "Even during emergency BSF don't respond the fence victim families properly that increased the suffering of the people. Now if the fencing raised beyond 150 yards the list of sufferers will be increased."Charging the state government, the Congress leader alleged in similar situation when the families were fenced out along Indo-Bangladesh border in Belonia and Khowai of Tripura, the previous government did proper rehabilitation for each and every family inside India but in case of Sonamura it was unaddressed. And now the new government attempted to apply force for making the poor minority families victim further, he stated.
"We are ready to cooperate with the administration if they make proper rehabilitation package for the prospective fenced out families, ensure minimum livelihood arrangement and security inside India. Otherwise, fencing beyond zero line would not allow to be happened," Mia warned.
UNI XC-BB RN
-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0311-1367417.Xml