Bru refugees to settle in Tripura
The Bru migrants fled from Mizoram to Tripura in the late 1990s. Nearly 35,000 Bru refugees are still living in camps in Tripura.Updated: Jan 17, 2020 00:00 IST
A quadripartite agreement to resolve the two-decade-old Bru refugee crisis was signed in New Delhi on Thursday. “This is an important agreement and will resolve the Bru crisis which has been lingering for decades now. A critical issue of the north-east has been settled with the help of the Tripura and Mizoram governments,” Union home minister Amit Shah said after signing of the agreement. The four signatories are: the Centre, the governments of Tripura and Mizoram, and Bru NGOs.
The Bru migrants fled from Mizoram to Tripura in the late 1990s. Nearly 35,000 Bru refugees are still living in camps in Tripura. Under the terms of the agreement, they will get a plot of land, rations, a fixed deposit of ~4 lakh, and a monthly stipend of ~5,000 for two years. They will also get ~1.5 lakh each to construct houses and have the right to vote in Tripura.
The agreement became necessary after an earlier initiative to send the Brus to Mizoram failed. “The government, therefore, had to think differently,” Shah said.
“The agreement will bring a permanent solution to the Bru crisis,” Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga said. Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb added that “the agreement reflects our commitment to the indigenous people.”
Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum chief A. Sawibunga said, “The agreement allows the Brus to stay back in Tripura. They will get benefits of the package announced for repatriation to Mizoram earlier.”
In 1997, the Bru National Union sought an Autonomous District Council for the Brus living in Mizoram. The demand was opposed by the government. Elements from the Bru community launched an armed movement – the Bru National Liberation Front – and allegedly killed a forest guard sparking riots in Mizoram. Around 30,000-40,000 Brus fled Mizoram for neighbouring Tripura.
The state and Centre announced a relief package for the refugees that included rations. In October 2019, the Centre stopped the rations to hasten the repatriation of Bru refugees to Mizoram. With that plan not working out, it started working on the agreement that was finally signed Thursday.