Bru settlement agreement evokes mixed response in Tripura

The quadruplet agreement headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to settle the displaced Brus in Tripura, amid demands of their repatriation by the non-tribal residents, has evoked mixed reactions.

Besides BJP, opposition Congress, CPI (M) and all other tribal parties, including Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarman, hailed the decision as ‘historic’ to end the 23-year-old impasse over the settlement of about 34,000 Bru displaced people.

Nagarik Suraksha Mancha (NSM), an apolitical outfit for the residents of Kanchanpur, where the Bru refugees have been living in camps, expressed annoyance over the deal and termed it as ‘suicidal’.

The NSM has been fighting for the last few years against the atrocities of Bru displaced people, settled in six camps of Kanchanpur and Panisagar of North Tripura since October 1997.

The local residents, including local tribal, suffered after the creation of Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF), a militant outfit of the displaced people about a decade ago.

Gradually, the tension spread to the nearby villages and most recently during anti-CAB movement Bru people allegedly attacked the non-tribal and more than 5000 people became homeless.

The non-tribal had to flee their homes and take shelter in local schools and different public institutions.

Earlier, on several occasions, the local people had faced a number of odd situations that triggered communal tensions.

After recent tensions, allegedly due to atrocities by Brus, NSM resorted to agitation with its demand to ensure the repatriation of Brus to their homeland in Mizoram.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had visited the area to alleviate the ongoing tension but it backfired.

It is being alleged that he did not meet the local people despite repeated appeals and they finally issued ultimatum for repatriation of Brus.

The president of NSM Ranjit Nath reacting over the decision to settle Brus in Tripura said due to the violent activities on the part of Bru displaced about 6000 Bengali people had to flee from Naisingpara, Anandabazzar and few adjoining areas.

Hundreds of non-tribal, over the past decade were forced to leave their ancestral properties in Kanchanpur due to the violent attacks of the Bru refugees.

“The BJP government has succumbed to the pressure of the tribal groups. And, the onslaught on the Bengali people would now become a permanent problem for the state. Their decision might have been taken to increase the party’s vote bank but BJP doesn’t understand its future impact. Neither those people will support BJP nor will they allow other communities to live around them peacefully – it’s a very cunning design to victimise the Bengalis even further,” Nath commented.

He added that NSM will continue their movement opposing the deal.

CM Deb has conveyed his gratitude to Central government for this decision. “The Bru refugees were deprived of basic amenities including education. Nobody was concerned about their future. But, by this decision history has been scripted,” said Deb.

Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee has also welcomed the move, while CPI (M) echoed the same and asked the government to ensure implementation of the promises made to the refugees.

As per the agreement, a package of Rs 600 Cr will be allotted for the Bru refugees. Each family will get a 40X30 sq ft plot and Rs 1.5 lakh for building houses under PMAY. A fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh, cash assistance Rs 5,000 per month, and free ration to all Bru refugees for two years would be provided to every family.

The state government will settle them in different places considering the availability of land.

However, Pradyot Kishore Debbarman has declared that the quadruplet agreement to settle the displaced Brus in Tripura is his victory, and the government was forced to offer the settlement because the government through its CAA wanted to ensure citizenship to illegal migrants.

Despite the new agreement, Brus will be settled only in the two districts of North Tripura where they have been living in clusters.

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