Clashes broke out between Tripura police officials and locals of Dolubari village of North Tripura district on Saturday over the proposed rehabilitation of Bru refugees from Mizoram. Protesters set fire to vehicles and blocked the national highway which led police officials to fire tear gas shells in order to disperse the protesters.
Several local organisations under the Joint Movement Committee (JMC) were protesting against the resettlement of Bru-Reang refugees in Kanchanpur sub-division and they had demanded that the state government resettle the members of the displaced community equally among Tripura’s eight districts. They had also called for a districtwide shutdown on November 16.
The Brus are a displaced community who have been living across several relief camps in Tripura and Mizoram since 1997 after ethnic clashes broke out between Mizo tribes and Brus. Close to 30,000 Bru tribals had fled the state due to the tensions in Mizoram.
The process to resettle the Bru community had begun in 2009 by the governments of Tripura and Mizoram but did not result in any success. In November 2018 Centre decided to resettle Bru refugees in Mizoram but due to protests by the Bru community that plan was too left unimplemented.
In 2020 a fresh agreement was signed which said the Brus will not be forced to return to Mizoram. The Centre has also sanctioned a Rs 600 crore rehabilitation package to help resettle the displaced community and along with Tripura government decided to rehabilitate the Brus across North Tripura, Dhalai, Unakoti, Sipahijala and Khowai districts.
The locals protesting against the resettlement have complained that the government is trying to resettle all 6,000 displaced families in the Kanchanpur sub-division itself. Speaking to PTI, JMC chairman Zairemthiama Pachuau said that despite assurances that not more than 1,500 families would be settled in the area the numbers have now gone up. He said, “The government is trying to settle 6,000 families. If they go ahead with this, the entire sub-division will be affected environmentally, ecologically, socially and demographically which is not acceptable.”
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