Bru resettlement issue: high security deployed in northern Tripura as protesters block national highway
Clashes broke out between Tripura police officers and locals from Dolubari village in North Tripura district on Saturday over proposed rehabilitation for Bru refugees from Mizoram. The protesters set vehicles on fire and blocked the national highway, prompting police officers to fire tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters.
Several local organizations under the Joint Movement Committee (JMC) were protesting the resettlement of the Bru-Reang refugees in Kanchanpur subdivision and had demanded that the state government resettle members of the displaced community equally among Tripura’s eight districts. . They had also called for a district-wide shutdown on November 16.
The Brus are a displaced community that have been living in various relief camps in Tripura and Mizoram since 1997 after ethnic clashes broke out between the Mizo and Brus tribes. About 30,000 Bru tribes had fled the state due to tensions in Mizoram.
The process to resettle the Bru community had started in 2009 by the Tripura and Mizoram governments, but was unsuccessful. In November 2018, the Center decided to resettle the Bru refugees in Mizoram, but due to protests from the Bru community, that plan was also not implemented.
In 2020 a new agreement was signed saying that the Brus will not be forced to return to Mizoram. The Center also approved a Rs 600 million rehabilitation package to help resettle the displaced community and, together with the Tripura government, decided to rehabilitate the Brus in North Tripura, Dhalai, Unakoti, Sipahijala and Khowai districts.
Locals protesting against resettlement have complained that the government is trying to resettle the 6,000 displaced families in the Kanchanpur subdivision itself. Speaking to PTI, JMC president Zairemthiama Pachuau said that despite guarantees that no more than 1,500 families would settle in the area, the numbers have risen. He said: “The government is trying to settle 6,000 families. If they continue with this, the entire subdivision will be affected environmentally, ecologically, socially and demographically, which is not acceptable. “