Guwahati: Expressing concerns over the re-settlement of displaced Brus in the Mizo-inhabited Zampui Hills surrounding areas under the Kanchanpur sub-division, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on Friday dashed off a letter to his Tripura counterpart Biplab Kumar Deb.
In his letter, the Mizoram CM requested Deb to immediately reconsider and cancel the proposal for re-settlement of displaced Brus at the traditional habitat of the Mizos in North Tripura's Zampui. Zoramthanga also pointed to the fact that the Mizos in four villages of Sakhan Hills had fled their villages amid ethnic conflict with the Brus.
"I would posit that re-consideration and cancellation of the proposed re-settlement of displaced Brus amidst Mizo traditional settlers of Zampui Hill area and arrangement of other appropriate locations is inevitable if the historic Agreement signing on 16.1.2020 is to be successfully implemented in letter and spirit", Zoramthanga urged Deb.
Displacement of Brus:
Conflict arose 1995 following a clash between Mizos and Brus, who were largely restricted to the Kolasib and Mamit districts. NGOs the Young Mizo Association and Mizo Students' Association demanded that Brus be removed from the state's electoral rolls, contending that the tribe was not indigenous to Mizoram. As a consequence, the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) launched an armed movement in the state. Concurrently, a political movement was launched by the Bru National Union (BNU), another influential body.
October 21, 1997, BNLF militants killed a forest official in Mizoram, giving rise to ethnic violence. The BNU later claimed that 1,391 Bru houses in 41 villages were burnt down and several people were raped and killed. Mizoram police, on the other hand, put the number of homes torched at 325 in 16 villages, and did not confirm rape or murder. Thus, around 30,000 Brus fled to North Tripura where they were given shelter in six relief camps in Kanchanpur and Panisagar subdivisions.
In January of this year, the displaced Brus living in Tripura since 1997 breathed a sigh of relief after the signing of an agreement for their settlement in the state instead of sending them back to neighbouring Mizoram. Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced a Rs 600 crore package to rehabilitate the Brus in their new state.