As many as 32,876 displaced people belonging to the Bru community will be repatriated to Mizoram from Tripura after two decades of being away from home, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Tuesday. The decision was taken after a tripartite agreement was signed by the two state governments and the Centre.
Besides the Centre and the governments of Mizoram and Tripura, the pact was signed by the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) in the presence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb and Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla.
The displaced people from 5,407 families, currently living in temporary camps in Tripura, will be repatriated to Mizoram before September 30, this year, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
The Central government will provide financial assistance for rehabilitation of Bru community members in Mizoram and address their issues of security, education, livelihood among others in consultation with the governments of Mizoram and Tripura.
A committee under the Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry, Rina Mitra, will coordinate the implementation of this agreement. The displaced Bru people from Mizoram have been living in various camps in Tripura since 1997.
According to a statement by the Tripura government, each displaced family would get a financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh in the form of a fixed deposit. The family would get rights to the deposit after three years of continuous living in Mizoram. A cash assistance of Rs 5,000 per month would also be given to each family for two years through Direct Benefit Transfer.
Apart from this, each family would also get Rs 1.5 lakh as house building assistance, free ration for two years and free transportation while shifting to Mizoram.
The Bru community, once spread across Mamit and Kolasib districts of Mizoram, were forced to flee their native land in 1997 after animosity between the tribe and the Mizos turned violent. Conflict between the communities began in 1995 when organisations representing Mizos — majority community in the state — demanded that Brus be stripped of their voting rights as they were not indigenous to Mizoram.
This led to rise of militant outfits among the Brus who in 1997 shot dead a Mizo forest guard. The violent backlash from Mizos to this incident forced Brus to flee to Tripura where they have been living in refugee camps in pitiable condition for close to two decades.
In 1999, then BJP president L K Advani had said Brus were being persecuted because a majority of them were Hindus.
With Mizoram going to polls this year, the move is likely to benefit the BJP.