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Brus in Mizoram seek equal package

By The Assam Tribune

AIZAWL, March 17: A body representing over 1,900 repatriated Bru families met governor PS Sreedharan Pillai, demanding a rehabilitation package equal to that offered to those members of the community who stayed back in Tripura.

The Equal Package Demand Committee (EPDC), the body representing the repatriated Bru families, sought the governor's intervention on the matter, urging him to take up the matter with the Union Home Ministry, its chairman Elvis Chorkhy said.

More than 1,900 Bru families returned to Mizoram from Tripura during the formal repatriation exercises conducted by the Centre and the Mizoram government between 2010 and 2018, he said.

"The Bru families returned following assurances that the Centre will take care of their all-round development," Chorkhy said, claiming that Rs 80,000 in cash and free ration for a year were given to these families.

However, with the quadripartite agreement among the Centre, Mizoram and Tripura governments and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF), the quantum of the rehabilitation package for those settling in Tripura was increased to Rs 6.7 lakh, apart from free ration for two years, he said.

"This created a huge gap between the repatriated families and those who will permanently live in Tripura," Chorkhy said.

He said the committee has made several appeals to the Centre for an equal package but to no avail.

The governor has assured them to take up the matter with the Union Home Ministry, according to Chorkhy.

Thousands of Brus fled Mizoram and migrated to Tripura, following ethnic tensions triggered by the murder of a Mizo forest guard in 1997. The Centre and the Mizoram and Tripura governments made at least nine attempts to repatriate them between 2009 and 2019, yielding minimum results.

On December 16, 2019, a four-party agreement was signed to end the more than a two-decade-old imbroglio on Bru repatriation.

According to the agreement, over 35,000 Bru families, who failed to return before November 30, will settle permanently in Tripura.

The agreement also said that the Centre would provide rehabilitation to the tune of Rs 4 lakh each to the Bru families and land for constructing house. The families will also be provided housing assistance of Rs 1 lakh each, apart from Rs 5,000 and free ration every month for two years.

The Tripura government will conduct identification of the Bru refugees and all the relief camps will be closed down after the completion of resettlement, the agreement said. - PTI

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