After a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the settlement process of the 4,900 displaced Bru families from Mizoram had hit another snag after a Joint Movement Committee (JMC) of one of their intended addresses — Kanchanpur and Panisagar in northern Tripura – reiterated their objection of taking the bulk of the population under their region.
Expressing “shock and disappointment”, the joint movement committee of Jampui Hill Mizo Convention and Kanchanpur Nagarik Surakha Mancha had on Wednesday submitted a letter to the Kanchanpur Sub-division Magistrate Chandni Chandran addressing the state’s Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar to divide the population of the Bru migrants among all the districts in Tripura instead of just in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions under North Tripura district.
“We are still maintaining our logical stand that equitable distribution of families in all the districts and sub-divisions is critically important to avoid negative social, cultural, political, environmental and ecological impacts it can have on our Kanchanpur sub-division,” the letter undersigned by the JMC’s Convenor and Chairman and the presidents of the constituting organisations, mentioned.
The JMC, had been maintaining this step since the quadripartite agreement between the Centre, Tripura, Mizoram and the leaders of the Bru people living as refugees in Tripura since the 1997 exodus from Mizoram.
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.
While five locations — CCRF under Anandabazar, Bikramjoy Para, Nandiram Para, Manu Manpui, Banchiram Pusparam Para and Kuki nala — in the North Tripura have been identified for them to settle down, only two — Teliamura and Sikari Bari area — under Khowai district, West Kalajhari in Amarpur subdivision in Gomati district, one in Dhalai district and the other at Boxanagar in Sepahijala district have been identified.
“We, therefore, maintain our stand that maximum 500 families are settled in Kanchanpur and Panisagar in the specific places that we have mentioned in our previous proposal,” the letter mentioned.
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. These, the JMC support.
“…in principle we are not against the Quadrilateral Bru Settlement Agreement signed in New Delhi on 16th January 2020. In fact, we congratulate and welcome the Agreement,” the letter mentioned.
Reangs or Brus are the second largest ethnic group in Mizoram. Their exodus in 1997 was spurred by violent clashes in Mamith subdivision, a Reang-dominated area, when they demanded creation of an autonomous council that was vehemently opposed by Mizo groups. The Centre had sanctioned around Rs 600 crore as a settlement package.
As per the agreement, their settling down process was supposed to be started from March this year that got hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdowns since March 25.