Putting an end to the 23-year-old Bru-Reang refugee crisis, the Centre has signed an agreement with Tripura, Mizoram and representatives from the community in New Delhi on January 16th, 2020.
The Bru-Reang refugees will be permanently settled in Tripura. The Centre will give a package of Rs 600 crore for the rehabilitation process and their all-round development.
“Today, an agreement was signed between Government of India, State government’s of Tripura and Mizoram, Bru-Reang representatives to end a long-pending 23-year-old refugee crisis which affected 34000 people. They will get rights on par with normal residents of Tripura and will also get the benefit of various social welfare schemes,” said Amit Shah, Home Minister.
Shah informed that each displaced family will get a residential plot, FD of Rs 4 lakh, free ration and Rs 5000 cash aid per month for two years. “An aid of Rs 1,50,000 will be given to build their house. The land will be provided by government of Tripura under the agreement,” he added.
Shah mentioned about how the Northeast is being put on the track of fast-paced development under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He talked about the recent surrender of 88 armed insurgents of the NLFT(SD) group and assimilating them into the mainstream.
“This major step, along with the Bru-Reang agreement today, is important milestones in bringing fast-paced development to the State of Tripura. Soon, a lasting peace would be established in the whole of the Northeast under Prime Minister’s leadership,” he added.
Along with Shah, present on the occasion were Chief Minister of Mizoram, Zoramthanga, Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb, Chairman, NEDA, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chairman, TIPRA, Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, representatives of Bru tribes, along with senior officers.
Modi welcomed the agreement to permanently settle Bru-Reang refugees in Tripura, saying it will “greatly help” them. He also said the Bru-Reang refugees will benefit from numerous development schemes.
In 1997, following ethnic tension, around 5,000 families comprising around 30,000 Bru-Reang tribals were forced to flee Mizoram and seek shelter in Tripura. These people were housed in temporary camps at Kanchanpur, in North Tripura.
Since 2010, the Government of India has been making efforts to permanently rehabilitate these refugees. The Union government has been assisting the two-State governments for taking the care of the refugees. Till 2014, 1622 Bru-Reang families returned to Mizoram in different batches.
On July 3rd, 2018, an agreement was signed between the Union government, the two-State governments and representatives of Bru-Reang refugees, as a result of which the aid given to these families was increased substantially.
Subsequently, 328 families comprising of 1369 individuals returned to Mizoram under the agreement. There had been a sustained demand of most Bru-Reang families that they may be allowed to settle down in Tripura, considering their apprehensions about their security.
Photo credit: @AmitShah