Joint Movement Committee members protesting in Kanchanpur sub-division on Wednesday Credit: EastMojo Image

Agartala: As protest continues against the re-settlement of the displaced Brus, both the ruling BJP and the opposition CPM have backed the Joint Movement Committee’s (JMC) movement to oppose the resettlement of Bru migrants in Kanchanpur sub-division.

The leaders of the BJP and CPIM appeared on the stage of JMC and spoke in support of them which have coined a new equation of politics centering the resettlement of Brus.

However, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) MLA Prem Kumar Reang said he felt sidelined for standing with the Bru refugees on humanitarian ground.

Despite the issuance of Section 144 in Kanchanpur sub-division from Tuesday, people have taken to the streets under the leadership of JMC.

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JMC convener Sushant Bikash Barua said, “Today, our movement has the support of the BJP and the Left Front. The top leadership, including former CPIM district council member Lalit Debnath and BJP Mandal vice president Arun Debnath, were present on one stage with us. They made it clear that the JMC’s demand for Bru refugee resettlement was justified, and they are with the JMC.”

Speaking further, he said that in Bru Refugee Rehabilitation, maximum 500 Bru families would be allowed to be settled in Kanchanpur sub-division, compensation including rehabilitation of Bengali refugees, cancellation of tenders issued for electricity and drinking water and sanitation department and removal of four places from the list are only then the indefinite strike will not be called off.

“We have given enough time to the Tripura government to rehabilitate the Bru. The strike will be called off only if a written promise is received from the Chief Secretary or the Chief Minister”, Barua added.

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He further alleged that on Tuesday, around 280 families left their homes and took shelter in schools for fear of the Brus.

The JMC members have expressed their displeasure against IPFT local MLA Prem Kumar Reang. As a result, even though he is a local MLA, the ruling BJP and the opposition CPM have started taking their part of the credit.

Speaking with EastMojo, Reang refuted the allegation of standing with the Brus.

“I stood by the Bru refugees from a humanitarian point of view as the rations were stopped. However, I never appealed for their rehabilitation in Tripura. The Tripura government has decided that the Bru refugees should be resettled in the state. The government did not bother to know my opinion”, he said.

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Starting Monday, the Joint Movement Committee consisting of Bengali and Mizo organisations have called for an indefinite strike from Monday, alleging breach of promise by the Tripura government in the resettlement of Bru migrants in Kanchanpur subdivision.

Earlier in January, after signing the agreement, Union home minister Amit Shah had announced a 40×30 ft area plot to build a house, Rs 4 lakh as fixed deposit, financial aid of Rs 5,000 per month along with free ration supply for the next two years to all the Bru families. To build houses, an amount of Rs 1.5 lakh will also be provided to every family.

The Tripura government had identified a total of 3,600 hectares of land in 11 locations in list one for resettling 4, 900 families comprising 33,000 people across the state.

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The two local organisations have been protesting the resettlement of Brus since December last year after the government proposed to settle several families in the Kanchanpur sub-division.

The leaders had alleged that since the arrival of Brus in 1997, there has been a rise in crime and ethnic tension between the locals and Brus in the Kanchanpur subdivision resulting in loss of property and lives.

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