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Who are the Bru refugees: The pact explained

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Aizawl, Jan 20: The impasse over the Bru community comes to an end after 22 years as a quadripartite pact of MHA on January 16 was agreed among the State governments of Tripura, Mizoram and leaders of Bru community to rehabilitate 34,000 displaced Bru or Reang people in Tripura permanently.

Bru tribals, who originated from Mizoram, have been living lives like refugees in Tripura since 1997 following ethnic clashes which forced them to flee to the neighbour.

The agreement would allow them to live in either the state.

Who are the Bru refugees: The pact explained

Who are the Bru

The Brus hail from Mizoram but ethnically they are distinct from the Mizos. The languages/dialects of the Brus, a predominantly Hindu tribe are said to be unintelligible for the Christian Mizos and Kukis who hold the majority in the state and share close linguistic and cultural ties.

In Tripura, Brus are the most populous tribe after the Tripuris and mostly known as Reangs, and were almost 2 lakh in number during the 2011 Census.

Why Bru fled to Tripura

Being an ethnic and religious minority, the 'outsiders', Brus faced a horrific episode of violence in 1997 when thousands of Bru homes were burnt, and a number of them were killed and raped. The outbreak forced them to flee to safety in neighbouring Tripura.

While having verbal spats with Mizos, an unknown Bru militant group that year kidnapped and murdered a Mizo forest department employee in the Dampa Tiger Reserve.

The killing led to ethnic clashes between the tribes and Brus had to run to Tripura for their lives.

At present, around 40,000 Brus living in four districts of Mizoram while about 34,000 Brus reside in relief camps in northern Tripura.

The long stays led them to learn the state languages, Kokborok and Bangla and acquainted them very well with the state's socio-political ecology.

What is in the Bru Agreement

As per the agreement, all Brus currently living in temporary relief camps in Tripura will be settled in the state, if they want to stay on.

The Bru refugees in Tripura will be given aid for their rehabilitation and would be included in the voter list of the state.

The Centre has announced a special development project for the resettlement and Rs 600 crore fund for the development of the migrants.

The Centre has sanctioned a package of Rs 600 crore for their settlement and Rs 150 lakh will be given to Tripura government for the land acquisition and their welfare.

Home Minister Amit Shah informed media that Bru refugees will get a 40-by-30-ft plot along with a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh for two years, cash assistance of Rs 5,000 per month for two years and free ration.

Shah declared that an amount of Rs 1.5 lakh will be provided to each family of them as aid to construct their own houses and that the amount will be disbursed under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana (PMAY).

Tripura scion royal Pradyot Deb Barman, one of the signatories, said he would donate 35 acres of land for the purpose.

Amit Shah hailed the agreement as "historic" and thanked the Chief Ministers of Tripura and Mizoram, Pradyot Kishore Debbarma and social organisations for the resolution and said the state governments will work towards the development of Bru families.

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