Indian Home Minister Amit Shah and representatives of Bru refugees have signed an agreement to end the crisis involving Bru refugees from Mizoram and sanctioning their settlement in Tripura.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Tripura State chief Biplab Kumar Deb and Mizoram State chief Zoramthanga on Thursday.
“Approximately 30,000 Bru refugees will be settled in Tripura. An $85 million (Rs 600 crore) package has been given for this. Bru refugees will get a 40 by 30 feet plot along with a fixed deposit of Rs. 400,000, cash assistance of Rs. 5,000 per month for two years and free rations,” Shah said.
The Bru tribe is ethnically distinct from the people living Mizos, and the two tribes speak mutually unintelligible languages/dialects. There are over 40,000 Brus living in four districts of Mizoram state, while about 32,000 Brus from Mizoram currently reside in relief camps in northern Tripura, a northeastern Indian state.
Bru leaders had demanded an Autonomous District Council (ADC) for the tribe under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution in the western areas of Mizoram. However, it was opposed by the government and the Young Mizos Association (Mizo Zirlai Pawl or MZP).
There were verbal duels between Mizo and Bru groups until an unknown Bru militant group, calling itself the Bru National Liberation Front, kidnapped and murdered a Mizo forest department employee in the Dampa Tiger Reserve.
The killing led to upheaval, and Bru thatched huts in several villages in Mizoram’s western periphery were burnt allegedly by Mizo villagers. The Brus urged on by their leaders, fled to Tripura over several months.