Other States

Amid lockdown, Tripura groups protest Bru settlement

File photo of Bru women bringing vegetables from a weekly market near the Naisingpara refugee camp in Kanchanpur sub division in Tripura.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, two community-specific groups have renewed their opposition to the permanent settlement of Bru refugees from Mizoram in Tripura.

A joint team of Nagarik Suraksha Mancha, mostly representing Bengali people displaced from erstwhile East Pakistan post-partition in 1947, and the Mizo Convention on May 2 submitted a memorandum to Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb protesting the proposed settlement of the displaced Brus in Kanchanpur Sub-Division of North Tripura district.

Northern Tripura has a sizeable Mizo population concentrated in the sub-division’s Jampui Hill area.

“Leaders of the two organisations gave the memorandum yesterday (Saturday),” Kanchanpur’s Sub-Divisional Magistrate Chandni Chandran said on May 3.

Also read: Bru settlement deal may set bad precedent, caution activists

More than 40,000 Brus – also called Reangs – have been living in six refugee camps in northern Tripura’s Kanchanpur and Panisagar subdivisions since 1997 when they escaped ethnic violence in adjoining Mizoram. About 7,000 refugees returned to Mizoram after nine phases of repatriation till November 30, 2019.

The Centre, the governments of Mizoram and Tripura and leaders of Bru organisations signed a quadripartite agreement in January to let the remaining 35,000 refugees who have stayed back to be resettled in Tripura. The rehabilitation package offered included financial assistance of ₹4 lakh and land for constructing a house for each family.

Also read: Brus vs non-tribal Bengalis: It’s a clash among the displaced in Tripura

“...the historical, social and circumstantial aspects of the migration of the Mizoram Reangs to Tripura and their subsequent anti-social activities after their arrival demand for total avoidance of their settlement in Kanchanpur Sub-Division. Non-compliance to this request of ours can result in severe demographic imbalance, land crisis, social disturbance, communal conflict, and damage to the environment, amongst others,” the two organisations said in the memorandum.

They also threatened an indefinite strike in the sub-division “as soon as the lockdown is over” if the government went ahead with the resettlement plan.

“We held an executive body meeting on May 1 and decided to protest the Bru resettlement after careful deliberations,” said Z. Pachuau, the secretary of Mizo Convention.

The two organisations, however, clarified that they have no objection to the settlement of Brus in 22 other sub-divisions of Tripura. “We are opposing the proposal for accommodating a large number of Brus at five places under Kanchanpur Sub-Division because of land constraints and dwindling forest resources,” they said.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 3:05:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/amid-lockdown-tripura-groups-protest-bru-settlement/article31493707.ece

Next Story