Displaced Brus Begin Homeward Journey

DAMDAI (MizoramTripura Border), Jan 30: Even as Bru people who fled away from Mizoram and sought refuge in the neighboring State of Tripura have started coming back to their home state, their living conditions remain quite shabby.

Around 3000 Bru people including women and children succumbed to several diseases in refugee camps in Tripura.

This was informed by surrendered president of the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) Surjamani during an interaction with The Sangai Express some days back.

Surjamani who is also chairman of the Mizo Bru Displaced People’s Forum is now settled at Damdai under Mamit district of Mizoram.

The BNLF was fighting for an exclusive autonomous district council for Bru people.

The BNLF surrendered en masse to the Government of Mizoram in 2005. Following the surrender, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Mizoram Government took up a joint initiative to bring back the Bru people who fled away from Mizoram to Tripura in 1996.

Surjamani said that the Brus would like to settle together but this is opposed by the Young Mizo Association.

He conveyed that Brus now taking shelter in refugee camps in Tripura wish to come back to Mizoram.

Brus can make their settlement in specific areas of Damdai notified by the Mizoram Government but they are not allowed to settle in forest areas.

For agriculture, the Brus are given land about 5 Kms away from their village.

As the refugee camps in Tripura were quite shabby, lacking even the most basic amenities, around 3000 Bru people including women and children died due to several diseases, the former militant leader said.

Former BNLF cadre Balendra Bru said that the Government incentive of Rs 80,000 given at the time of surrender had been utilized in building a house and some other purposes.

‘Now I’m left without any source of income’, he said.

The Bru people who have came back to Damdai from the refugee camps of Tripura are living in a very shabby conditions.

Bamboo thatch and tarpaulin cover their house roofs.

Most of the Brus built their houses as if they were for temporary use.

However, the Government of Mizoram has built a school under SSA and a health sub-centre at Damdai.

Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla stated that his Government has plans for resettlement of displaced Brus in Mizoram.

However, some Bru leaders staying in the refugee camps of Tripura do not wish to come back to Mizo-ram. They have been using the money given for rehabilitation by the Ministry of Home Affairs in business activities, Lalthanhawla asserted.

Mamit district Deputy Commissioner Jothankhuma informed that the Ministry of Home Affairs would be closing the refugee camps located in Tripura from March 31 this year.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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