The Bru tribals came to Tripura in 1997 following ethnic clashes in Mizoram and since then they have been living in relief camps in the state Credit: EastMojo image

Agartala: Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb in a letter to the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has requested the Centre to settle down the Bru community in Tripura.

The letter, which was written on November 17 but revealed to the media on Thursday, urged the Union govt to settle down 400 to 500 Bru families in the state as most of them are not willing to be repatriated to Mizoram.

“… As per 4-cornered agreement was signed between the Ministry of Home Affairs, Governments of Mizoram and Tripura, and representatives of Bru refugees repatriating of Bru migrants staying in Tripura to be completed within November 30 next. However, strong reluctance has been noticed on the part of Bru migrants to go to Mizoram and the repatriation process has not been successful. So far, only 144 families (699 persons) have gone during the current phase of repatriation. This is despite the fact that the special secretary (Internal Security), MHA held a Joint Monitoring Committee Meeting on October 16 last at Agartala and held a detailed discussion with the leadership of all factions of Bru refugees,” the letter read.

The letter also said that recently, the Bru refugees had blocked Dasda-Anandabazar road of Kanchanpur subdivision of North Tripura district, demanding relief materials that were stopped with effect from October 1. During various meetings at the official as well as political levels, the Bru representatives have raised various issues related to safety and security in Mizoram, Including demand for Autonomous District Council, settlement In Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram, etc. Some factions have demanded that they may be allowed to settle in different parts of Tripura.

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“The Bru migrants came to Tripura in 1997 and since then they are staying in these relief camps in North Tripura district. It is not desirable that our own citizens stay as refugees in our own country. This is affecting their socio-economic development and hence, despite facing various constraints, the state government of Tripura is of the view that those Bru refugees who want to stay in Tripura may be allowed to do so for which ministry of home affairs may give a suitable package on similar lines as offered to them on their repatriation to Mizoram,” CM Deb wrote to MHA.

Deb also pointed out that the availability of land is likely to be a major constraint in Tripura for which MHA may kindly think of a suitable solution. In addition, accommodating so many families would strain existing infrastructure related to education, health, etc, in the areas they settle.

“Keeping this in view, not more than 400-500 families may settle down in a particular subdivision of the state. So the additional fund would be required for overall area development where Bru refugees will be settling down for taking up road connectivity, electricity, water supply, health and education infrastructure, etc, so that they can lead a comfortable life,” the letter said.

As per the Central government’s package to the Mizoram government for Bru refugees, it is learned that each Bru family would get a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh, Rs 1.50 lakh to be given for construction of house in three installments, Rs 5,000 per month granted for two years, plot of land to be allotted and area development would be made, etc.

Over 37,000 Bru refugees fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram during ethnic clashes in 1997. They were sheltered in makeshift relief camps in Kanchanpur and Panisagar subdivisions of North Tripura district, 150 km from Agartala.

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