BRUS to Permanently Settle in Tripura, Pact Signed - Editorial

Context 

An agreement involving four parties (quadripartite) was reached in New Delhi, enabled 35k people from BRU community (tribal community), displaced from Mizoram and are currently living in Tripura since the year 1997, which will allow them to settle permanently in Tripura.

The quadripartite agreement includes the central government, state government of Mizoram, State government of Tripura and set of representatives from BRU tribal community reached to an agreement and signed a pact in the presence of Union Home Minister. 

The ‘solution’ reached through mutual agreement (pack signed) solicit mixed reaction from activists, fearing such solution could ‘legalise’ the penetration of the minority community by ethnocentric states.

BRUS to Permanently Settle in Tripura, Pact Signed

About BRU refugees??? 

BRU are considered to the widespread tribal community across parts of Southern Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. Also, they make up the majority of the tribal population in the region.

BRU are identified with different names, they are known as ‘Reangs in Mizoram’, many ways they are different than native Mizos. They have their own language and flavours of dialects, and are among the 21 schedule tribes of state of Tripura.

In the state of Tripura their population is approximately around 32k, scattered across several refugee camps. Their number in the state of Mizoram is around 40k. 

BRU community is more of like nomadic tribe, a travelling community from one place to another in search of food and place to live. Livelihood and everyday activities include ‘Hilltop Jhum Cultivation’, food gathering throughout the day, such as leafy plants, fruits, fishing in forest waters, hunting wild animals and birds, etc.

They are considered to be polytheists (worship of or belief in multiple deities), some of their Gods and Goddesses are Mailoma, Tuibuma, Ganga, etc.

BRU community also believes in the existence of entities such as spirit and soul, majority of these tribal people are ‘Vaishna’, which is cultural shock as how they got introduced to the religious ideology of ‘Vaishnavism’ Hence they can be termed as ‘Hindu’. 

The village community of BRU is usually led by village council chief, named as ‘RAI’, who is considered to be the chief decision maker to solve community disputes and arguments.

Social life circles around the community and marriage customs are similar to other tribal communities of Tripura. BRU tribe is endogamous (practice of marrying within the specific community group). Their funeral procession is similar to that of the Hindu rituals and dead ones are disposed through the cremation ceremony. 


About Refugee Camps 

Back in 1997, due to some ethnic tention and disputes, around 30k BRU Reang Tribal community members decided to migrate from Mizoram and took refuge in the state of Tripura. They were allocated the temporary settlement in Tripura’s refugee shelters and camps, Kanchanpur located to the north of Tripura. 

Government of India has been making a series of efforts for rehabilitation of the BRU-Reang community members since 2010. 

Central government and two state governments of Tripura and Mizoram were consistent in attempting to settle this rehabilitation issue of BRU Reang community once for and all through permanent solution.

The announcement from PMO, on their official website, 1622 families from BRU Reang community were successfully returned to the Mizoram. In 2018, the central government asked BUR Reang community to peacefully return to their earlier settlement in Mizoram, around 1400 individuals agreed to proceed ahead with a decision to return back to Mizoram.


BRU-Reang Refugee Agreement 

BRU-Reang Refugee agreement is signed between four parties, starting central government, state government of Mizoram, state government of Tripura, and representatives from the BRU-Reang community, witnessed by the Union Home Minister. This agreement was signed to end the 23 years old BRU-reang crisis. This agreement was signed on 17th January 2020.


Highlights of the BRU-Reang Refugee Agreement 

After the agreement the pact, 34k BRU-Reang refugee will permanently settle in the state of Tripura. 

Central government to look after the complete overall development of these tribal community and as a result around ₹ 600 crore are sanctioned (approximately $84 million)

Starting from the date of the agreement, these BRU-reang tribes now allowed to stay and settle in the state of Tripura will enjoy all the benefit of the central and state government and also allowed to take benefit of social welfare schemes.

To address the issue shelter (houses), it was decided that each of the migrated family will be given a plot of 40x30 sq.ft.

Each family will receive a assured sum of ₹ 5000/month for the period of 2 years (24 months), free ration for 2 years (24 months) and ₹1.5 lakh as one-time aid to build their houses.

Also, under this signed pact (Agreement), the state government of Tripura is asked to provide habitable land to for permanent settlement of these refugees. The agreement has been agreed-up after detailed discussion and series of considerations, demands and issues kept in mind. Care was taken, that the decision has to be from the humanitarian perspective and accommodate requests from BRU-reang community. The agreement is said to the be quadripartite agreement between Union Government, State Government of Mizoram, State Government of Tripura and representative from BRU-reang community. 

Critics believe that this will setup a bad precedent and will send ripple across all states, promote other ethnocentric states to push minorities of all hues to other states and may lead to similar refugee situations in other states as well.


Conclusion

PMO office officially announced the successful signing of the agreement to permanently settle BRU-reang migration issue, Pm Modi said, agreement will “greatly help” BRU-Reang community. 

They have been allocated several schemes from Union and state government to benefit. Although the families and individuals of BRU-Reang community, who migrated back to Mizoram started to demand a similar package for welfare in Mizoram. 

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