Agartala, Sept 12: Laksiti Reang, a 40 year old Bru woman, who fled from her house in Mizoram's Mamit district 24 year ago following ethnic conflicts and took shelter at Naisinghpara relief camp in Tripura's North Tripura district has finally got a permanent home at Haduklau, a tribal hamlet in Tripura's Dhalai district.
She along with her four member family now live at her own house with all amenities built out of money from a relief package sanctioned by the union government. Over 400 Bru people left a relief camp in the third week of April last to set up houses on land provided by the government as a measure to permanently solve the refugee status of the community. Thousands of the Bru tribal people have been living in relief camps in Tripura since 1997. They had fled their ancestral homeland in Mizoram to reach the neighbouring state, victims of ethnic clashes. By now, the number of the internally displaced people has risen to over 37,136.
Altogether 426 people belonging to 92 families living in Naisinghpara camp in Kanchanpur subdivision of North Tripura district were brought to Haduklau in Dhalai district, an official said.
"We have got land, money to construct our own house. English medium schools were set up for our kids and we were assured by the administration that Antyodaya cards would be given to us for subsidised ration", visibly happy, Lakshiti told a group of visiting reporters.
They are the first batch, who were rehabilitated, following an agreement signed in January last year among representatives of the community, the Centre and the governments of Tripura and Mizoram. A 1,200 square feet plot has been allotted to each rehabilitated Bru family and Rs 1.5 lakh provided by the government to set up a home. The agreement guarantees a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh for each family, a monthly sum of Rs 5,000 and free monthly ration for two years besides setting up of schools in all cluster villages.
"The process of settling the Bru tribes exiled for 23 years in Tripura has begun. The central government under the leadership of PM has taken a humanitarian view and worked to solve the problem," Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, said.
Tripura government has decided to provide Antyodaya cards to 6,959 Bru families, who are being permanently resettled in Tripura. This decision was taken in the first week of this month following a thorough review of the Bru rehabilitation process by the union Home Minister with Deb. Antyodaya cards would benefit around 37,136 members of 6,959 Brus families—they would get 35 kg rice per card for Rs. 2/ kg. Besides, the members of such families would get 5 kg rice each free of cost.
When contacted, Dr Manas Dev, an officer on special duty (OSD), who oversees the entire rehabilitation process, said that 1,638 Bru families were rehabilitated at four places - Hadukuluk and Bongaphapara in Dhalai district and Cascao and Waimbukcherra-Ranipara in North Tripura district. Altogether 6,959 families would be rehabilitated in 14 places of the state. The vexed Bru issue started in September, 1997, following demands of a separate autonomous district council for the community by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura. A large number of Bru people fled from Mizoram to Tripura as ethnic clashes broke out.
The Centre, along with the governments of Tripura and Mizoram, had been trying to repatriate them to their home state over the past decade, with little success. The first attempt to repatriate the Brus from Tripura was made in November 2009 and the last one in 2019. Several Bru families have refused to return to Mizoram, citing security concerns and inadequate rehabilitation package. Some have also sought a separate autonomous council for the community.
However, the January 2020 agreement has allowed these tribal people to permanently settle in Tripura.