North Tripura has been seeing violent protest allegedly over the proposed resettlement of bru tribals. On Saturday a person was deemed to death in police firing. He was a fire service personnel and passed away in a hospital because of injuries. 23 other people including 15 police personnel were also injured during the locomotion.
Why were the protests happening?
It was in 1997 when nearly thirty seven thousand people of the bru tribe, also called as reang tribe, fled from Mizoram to Tripura. This flight was an account of ethnic clashes which still continue to exist and haunt the native there. Since the initial movement of people nearly 5000 have come back to Mizoram whereas nearly 30 mm people still stay in camps of Tripura. In January 2020 the central government, both the state governments as well as the brew representatives signed an agreement as per which remaining 32000 people would be allowed to permanently settle in the state.
This agreement initiated protests from measure groups and Bengali groups living in Tripura as they claim that permanently settling thousands of migrants in kanchanpur subdivision of north Tripura district permanently would not only cause demographic imbalances and exert pressure on local resources but also lead to law and order problems.
From where is the bru tribe?
Brus are a community indigenous to North East. They live mostly in the regions of Mizoram, Tripura and Assam. They have been facing several existence threats. They have been targeted by ethnic organisations in Mizoram who demand the Brus to be excluded from the electoral rolls. In Tripura as well they are given the status of a particularly vulnerable tribal group.
How have the protests developed in Tripura?
The initial phases of the protest included memoranda, demonstrations, and press conferences organised by organisations called nagrik Suraksha Mancha. Soon, the practice develop and transformed into Highway blockades and violent clashes with police.
Tripura based organisation called the mizo convention has partnered with the nagrik Suraksha Mancha. Both the organisations have created a platform called joint movement committee (JMC) which made a declaration that not more than 1500 bru families would be given permits to permanently live in kanchanpur.
How have the Brus been fighting in Tripura?
There is an indigenous progressive regional alliance shared by Pradyot Deb Burman which supports the ethnic community. Raising his voice against the violators, Pradyot has issued a demand for action against The killers of the Firemen while calling for peace in the region. On the contrary, CPM and opposition Congress have chided the police firing.
How have the brus reacted to the whole mess?
Bruno Msha, general secretary of Mizoram bru displaced peoples forum, has said that the agitation and anger of the natives has left the migrants in uncertainty and fear as they continue to suffer an economic blockade on account of this movement making them inaccessible to food grains guaranteed to them under the relief package this month. He also expressed his emotions saying that they don’t know how long they would be able to put up if the strike continues. On behalf of the community, he has also urged the government to ensure proper law and order.
What is the resettlement plan decided under the agreement?
In a period of 10 months the state has drafted out a plan consisting of 12 resettlement spots spread across 6 districts. The centre has also announced a special development project under the agreement. The project would be having a funding of nearly rupees 600 crore and each resettled family would be given 0.03 acres of land approximately for building a home, rupees 4 lakh as one time cash benefit for sustenance, rupees 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, a monthly allowance of rupees 5000 as well as free ration for two years from the date of resettlement.
Amidst all this conflict what does the government say?
The government has constantly clarified that the migrants will not be settled in one place and the rumours regarding the same are completely false. It has also requested and appealed to the natives to avoid and refrain from sharing such content on social media. Stressing on the same the revenue department has announced that the migrants shall be settled in various locations across 6 identified districts.
Magistrate of kanchanpur sub division, Chandni Chandran, has clearly denied receiving any policy decision in regards of settling 5,000 migrant families within her jurisdiction, saying that the selection of families of resettlement has not yet completed and is still in progress.
A letter dated October 28 from the north Tripura district magistrate to the officer on special duty of revenue department states that the district administration had anticipated the requirement of funds for settling 6000 bru migrants permanently in the district. The letter also reads that 5000 group families were to be the settled in kanchanpur subdivision across 6 locations.
If the agreement has already been signed then why are people protesting?
Sushanta Baruah, the convenor of joint movement committee, claimed that the agitation initiated as a way to save ancestral lands from bru migrants. She said, “Though opposed to the whole idea of having more people permanently settle within limited resources of the area, we honoured the agreement signed by states and the Central Government and agreed to it, but now the district administration has proposed to set up 12 resettlement sites in kanchanpur alone and settle 5000 families here.”