A four party agreement among the Centre, Mizoram Government, Tripura Government and Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) which seeks to end the 22-year-old Bru refugee crisis may be signed on 16th January 2020
Bru or Reang is a community indigenous to Northeast India, living mostly in Tripura, Mizoram and Assam. In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group.
In Mizoram, they have been targeted by groups that do not consider them indigenous to the state. In 1997, following ethnic clashes, nearly 37,000 Brus fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram and were accommodated in relief camps in Tripura.
Since then, 5,000 have returned to Mizoram in eight phases of repatriation, while 32,000 still live in six relief camps in North Tripura.
In June 2018, community leaders from the Bru camps signed an agreement with the Centre and the two state governments, providing for repatriation in Mizoram. But most camp residents rejected the terms of the agreement.
The camp residents say that the agreement doesn’t guarantee their safety in Mizoram.
In October 2019, the supply of ration to relief camps was stopped on instructions of the Home Ministry in a bid to hastily complete the repatriation of refugees to Mizoram. Civil society outfits had alleged that at least six refugees died due to starvation.
Proposed New Agreement
According to the 2018 agreement, the Bru tribals would have settled in Mizoram, but according to the new agreement, they will now settle in Tripura.
The stakeholders in the issue expect a package of Rs 600 crore from the Centre which includes:
Plots of 2,500 sq ft for each Bru family in addition to agricultural land.
A stipend of Rs 5,000 per month and free ration for each family for the next two years.
Bru tribals would be included in Tripura’s voter list.