NEW DELHI: In a major development, the Centre and the state governments of Tripura and Mizoram on Tuesday finally managed to sign an agreement for repatriation of thousands of people belonging to the Bru community from Tripura to Mizoram.
After more than two decades of living in the refugee camps in the Jampui Hills of Tripura, as many as 32,876 people belonging to 5,407 families will finally return to their home state following a tripartite agreement signed by the two state governments and the Centre.
"In a major breakthrough on repatriation laced Bru persons from Mizoram since 1997, an agreement has been signed by Government of India, Governments of Mizoram and Tripura and Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF) in New Delhi today," read a statement issued by the Home Ministry.
A bout of ethnic violence forced thousands of people from the Bru tribe to leave their homes in Mizoram. An attempt at repatriation began in 2010 and some people even moved back. The pact was signed in the presence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Tripura Chief Minister Beb and Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla.
The displaced people , currently living in temporary camps in Tripura, will be repatriated to Mizoram before September 30, 2018, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
"The central government will provide financial assistance for rehabilitation of Bru community members in Mizoram and address their issues of security, education, livelihood, etc. in consultation with the governments of Mizoram and Tripura," according to the statement.
A committee under the Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry, Rina Mitra, will coordinate the implementation of this agreement. The displaced Bru people from Mizoram have been living in various camps in Tripura since 1997. In 1997, the murder of a Mizo forest guard at the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram's Mamit district allegedly by Bru militants led to a violent backlash against the community, forcing several thousand people to flee to neighbouring Tripura.
The Bru militancy was a reactionary movement against Mizo nationalist groups who had demanded in the mid-1990s that the Brus be left out of the state's electoral rolls, contending that the tribe was not indigenous to Mizoram.