November 16, 2020 9:15:43 pm
A strike by two civil society groups against the settlement of Bru migrants in their area crippled normal life at Kanchanpur in Tripura Monday, with trading outlets and vehicle movement shut throughout the day.
The strike was called by Joint Movement Committee (JMC), a collective of two local ethnic civil societies of North Tripura – Nagorik Suraksha Mancha and Mizo Convention.
On the same day, Bru leaders met Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar and secured assurance that the resettlement process would be completed as soon as possible. Selection of families for resettlement is currently under progress and spots for settlement were finalised between the migrants and the government.
Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Bikramjit Sukladas said no untoward incident occurred during the strike across Kanchanpur.
The JMC demands that the Brus be settled in all the eight districts of Tripura, instead of in 12 identified pockets. On the agitation, JMC Chairman Dr Zairemthiama Pachuau said, “The local administration assured us earlier that 1,500 families would be resettled in this area. But now they are trying to settle 6,000 families. If this resettlement process goes on as planned, the local demography, social, ecological and environmental balance will be affected. This can’t be accepted.”
In January this year, the Centre signed a four-corner agreement to resolve the 23-year old Bru displacement crisis in Tripura and announced that over 33,000 Bru migrants from Mizoram, languishing in six relief camps since October 1997, would be settled in the state. A package of Rs 600 crore was announced for this.
On Monday, Bru migrant leaders met the Chief Secretary at the state secretariat in Agartala. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha said the discussion went on for two hours, during which they requested to consider four alternative resettlement spots out of the 12 decided by the government, approve favourable resettlement of split families, equal package for all displaced Brus, and ensuring basic amenities like road connectivity, electricity, safe drinking water, school, healthcare etc. prior to physical shifting from camps, among others.
The migrants also reiterated their demand of immediately issuance of Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificates, permanent residence certificates and enrolment in ration cards, electoral rolls etc. to enable the migrants to enjoy government scheme benefits.
“The state government has said that all possible steps would be taken. They have agreed to include four of our existing relief camps — Naisinghpara, Ashapara, Kaskau and Hazacherra — to be used as permanent resettlement spots,” Bruno said.
On the indefinite strike at Kanchanpur, the Bru leaders said they are reposing faith on the government. “Mizo Convention and Nagarik Suraksha Mancha are objecting to our resettlement process formula. We have nothing to say about their movement. It is their Constitutional right. We have faith on the government that it will take necessary action,” they told this publication.
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