MBDPF welcomes pact to settle Bru refugees in Tripura

Agartala, Jan 16 (PTI) The Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF) on Thursday welcomed the quadripartite agreement signed among the Centre, state governments of Tripura and Mizoram, and representatives of Bru to facilitate permanent settlement of Bru refugees in Tripura.

'We are happy with this agreement because it has allowed Bru migrants from Mizoram to permanently settle in Tripura. The Bru inmates, who are sheltered in six camps, would get all benefits of the package previously announced for repatriation to Mizoram,' MBDPF's president Apeto Sawibunga said.

He said two other organisations -- Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Coordination Committee (MBDPCC) and Mizoram Bru Indigenous Democratic Movement (MBIDM) -- apart from the MBDPF have signed the agreement.

'All the representatives of the displaced Brus living in the camps have signed the agreement. So, we all hope that all inmates would be happy,' Sawibunga told reporters here.

Seeking to put an end to the 23-year-old Bru-Reang refugee crisis, a quadripartite agreement was signed on Thursday in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to facilitate permanent settlement of Bru refugees in Tripura.

The Bru tribals have been staying in Tripura in different relief camps after they fled Mizoram in 1997 following ethnic clashes between Bru and Mizo communities.

An agreement signed in July 2018 for repatriation of the Bru tribals to Mizoram did not materialise as majority of the community members refused to go back to Mizoram. So far, only 328 families have returned and settled in Mizoram.

Under the pact, Rs 4 lakh will be given to each Bru family in a fixed deposit account, Rs 5,000 per month for two years, a plot of land in Tripura and ration for two years. For all such assistance, the central government will provide Rs 600 crore.

However, a local civil society body of Kanchanpur comprising non-tribal members expressed its unhappiness over the agreement.

President of Nagarik Suraksha Mancha Ranjit Nath said, 'We are not happy with the agreement because these Brus were responsible in many ways for damaging ethnic solidarity of tribals and non-tribals at Kanchanpur.' But he did not elaborate on how they were responsible for damaging the solidarity.

The body had organised a series of protests, including strikes and mass sit-in- demonstrations, in North Tripura district on 11 point demands, including repatriation of Bru migrants to Mizoram.

'We shall continue our agitation. Our members would participate in a meeting to be held on January 26 to decide next course of action,' Nath said. PTI JOY SNE SNE