GUWAHATI: Some Bengali, Mizo organisations in Tripura have petitioned the state’s BJP-led government opposing the proposed settlement of 4,900 Bru families (around 34,000 people) in the state’s Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions.
In a joint memorandum to the Tripura government, the Joint Movement Committee, Nagarik Suraksha Manch and Jampui Mizo Convention expressed apprehension that the settlement of such a large number of the refugees, who originally hail from neighbouring Mizoram, in their areas would cause social imbalance.
“We, on behalf of the Bengali and Mizo communities of Kanchanpur sub-division, would like to express our shock and disappointment with the proposed settlement of 4,900 families of Mizoram Bru migrants within Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions. This proposal from the government grossly goes against our proposal that we have submitted to you and discussed with you on 23rd July 2020 during our video-conference meeting with you,” the organisations wrote in their petition submitted to Tripura chief secretary.
Re-emphasizing that they are not against the quadripartite Bru settlement agreement, signed on January 16 this year, they insisted on equitable distribution of the families in all districts and sub-divisions to avoid negative social, cultural, political, environmental, and ecological impacts.
“We, therefore, maintain our stand that a maximum of 500 families are settled in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions in the specific places that we have mentioned in our previous proposal,” they said.
Over 40,000 Brus had fled their homes in Mizoram in October 1997 in the wake of inter-community riots. Ever since then, they have been living in six relief camps in Tripura. Despite several repatriation processes, only around 5,000 of them returned to Mizoram.
As per the quadripartite agreement, signed among Centre, Bru leaders, and Tripura and Mizoram governments, the displaced people, still lodged in the relief camps, will be resettled in Tripura.
The Tripura government has already identified the places to resettle the refugees. It was Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb who had suggested Union Home Minister Amit Shah that the Brus be resettled in Tripura.