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NGT notice for rehabilitating displaced Brus

Context:

  • The Eastern Zonal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought response from the Tripura Forest Department and the North Tripura district administration on a public complaint regarding the state government’s move to resettle over 40,000 displaced Brus of western Mizoram in the reserved forest.
  • The NGT asked the state to submit the Bru rehabilitation plan to the bench before July 2021.

Relevance:

GS-I: Indian Society, GS-III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Bru
  2. Background on Bru resettlement and their concern

Click Here to read about National Green Tribunal (NGT)

Bru

  • Bru (aka Reang) are one of the 21 scheduled tribes of the Indian state of Tripura.
  • The Bru community is present in the state of Tripura, and they also have presence in Mizoram and Assam.
  • They speak the Reang dialect of Kokborok language which is of Tibeto-Burmese origin and is locally referred to as Kau Bru.
  • In 2018, the Union Home Ministry decided to give voting rights to around 30,000 people of the Bru community who had fled from Mizoram to Tripura in 1997 in the wake of inter-community violence.
  • In 2020, a quadripartite agreement was signed among the Centre, state governments of Tripura and Mizoram and Bru-Reang representatives to facilitate permanent settlement of Bru refugees from Mizoram in Tripura.
  • The Tripura government resettled 493 members of 426 Bru families, who spent 24 years in relief camps in Mizoram, in two forest locations of Dhalai district in April 2020.
  • The government has cleaned jungles to make dwelling sheds for their temporary stay and provided funds for construction of pucca houses, according to the quadripartite agreement signed last year in New Delhi.

Background on Bru resettlement and their concern

  • Three organisations representing the Bru community displaced from Mizoram have rejected the sites proposed by the Joint Movement Committee (JMC).
  • The Joint Movement Committee (JMC) is an umbrella group of non-Brus in Tripura, for their resettlement.
  • The demand for inclusion of four JMC members in the monitoring team for the resettlement of the Brus has been rejected by organizations representing the Bru community.
  • The JMC comprising the Bengali, Mizo, Buddhist Barua and other communities, submitted a memorandum to the Tripura government specifying places for the resettlement of the Brus who fled ethnic violence in Mizoram since 1997.
  • A quadrilateral agreement was signed among the Bru groups, the Centre and the State governments of Mizoram and Tripura.

Why did the Bru reject the JMC resettlement site proposals?

  • The organisations representing the Bru Community rejected the sites suggested because inclusion of four JMC members in the monitoring team for the settlement of Bru internally-displaced people is not applicable since they are not having any connection or involvement in the issue of either repatriation to Mizoram or resettlement in Tripura.
  • According to the Bru, the interference of the Kanchanpur Nagarik Suraksha Mancha and Mizo Convention, prime constituents of JMC, in site selection is unjustified as they are not a part of either the quadrilateral agreement or signatory.

What are the requests of the Bru?

  • The three refugee groups insisted on resettling some 6,500 families in clusters of at least 500 families at each of the sites of their choice.
  • They want to be relocated to sites of their choice because the sites proposed by the JMC, they said, are unconnected by road and electricity and too far from hospitals, schools and other facilities.
  • The Bru groups also demanded the arrest of the JMC leaders for “abusive, derogatory and inflammatory statements” against the Bru community.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine

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December 2022
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