Tripura Polls: Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik holds campaign in Dhanpur
Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik

Agartala: Union minister Pratima Bhoumik on Monday said all Bru families who were displaced from Mizoram would be resettled in Tripura by August this year.

Earlier it was decided that all the 37,000 internally-displaced Bru tribals who are living in relief camps in Tripura for years will be rehabilitated permanently within the state by March 31, 2022.

“We reviewed the progress of the resettlement of Brus and it appears there has been a significant development as far as rehabilitation is concerned. Only 500 families are yet to receive land and all of them will be given plots by May 20,” the Union minister of Social Empowerment and Justice, who had presided over a review meeting on Saturday, told PTI over the phone.

The rehabilitation of the Bru community people started on April 20 last year following an agreement signed in January 2020 among representatives of the community, the Centre, and the governments of Tripura and Mizoram.

The COVID-19 pandemic hampered the rehabilitation of Bru refugees or else it would have been completed within the stipulated time, Bhoumik said.

We want to complete the entire rehabilitation process by August, the minister added.

Highlighting that resettlement of the displaced Brus is progressing satisfactorily, Chief Secretary Kumar Alok said, “We hope to settle all the displaced Brus by August 2022.”

Thousands of the Bru tribal people have been living in relief camps in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions since 1997. They had fled Mizoram to reach the neighbouring state because of ethnic clashes.

According to the January 2020 agreement, each rehabilitated Bru family will get a 1,200 square feet plot to build a house with an amount of Rs 1.5 lakh provided by the government.

The agreement also guarantees a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh for each family, a monthly sum of Rs 5,000, free monthly ration for two years, and schools in all cluster villages.

Once the resettlement is completed, Bru families will become permanent residents of Tripura and will be eligible to vote in the state, it said.

The vexed Bru issue started in September 1997, following demands of a separate autonomous district council for the community by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura. A large number of Bru people fled from Mizoram to Tripura as ethnic clashes broke out.

The situation was aggravated by the murder of a forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in western Mizoram by Bru National Liberation Front insurgents on October 21 that year and another round of exodus followed.

The Centre, along with the governments of Tripura and Mizoram, had tried several times to repatriate them to their home state, with little success.

The first attempt to repatriate the Brus from Tripura was made in November 2009 and the last one in 2019.

Many Bru families had refused to return to Mizoram, citing security concerns and inadequate rehabilitation packages. Some others had also sought a separate autonomous council for the community.

However, the January 2020 agreement allowed these tribal people to permanently settle in Tripura.

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