Tripura: Bru migrants demand ST and permanent residence certificates

Leaders wrote to Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar seeking immediate issuance of the same as a formal recognition of their domicile status in the state.

As the Tripura government prepares to permanently resettle Mizoram’s Bru migrants in the state, the latter have sought Scheduled Tribe (ST) certificates and Permanent Resident of Tripura Certificates (PRTC). Leaders wrote to Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar seeking immediate issuance of the same as a formal recognition of their domicile status in the state.

In January this year, the Centre signed a four-corner agreement on a final resolution to the 23-year old Bru displacement crisis in Tripura, and announced the resettlement of over 33,000 migrants languishing in six relief camps since October 1997. It also unveiled a Rs 600 crore package to aid the process.

As part of the resettlement process, the state government on September 19 approved 15 areas for resettlement after a series of discussions that involved meeting Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath and Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar, and holding video conferences with revenue officials. While few of the rehabilitation spots are still being contested — this includes objections from migrants and protests from local residents — the migrant leaders have proposed some alternative spots which are being deliberated.

In the last 10 months, the Kanchanpur Nagarik Suraksha Mancha and Mizo Convention, two local ethnic forums of North Tripura, have held a series of protests against the resettlement.  They are accusing the migrants of having disrupted local settlements on their arrival 23 years ago, and have threatened large scale agitations if they move to Kanchanpur or anywhere nearby.

On September 29, Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying the two organisations were creating a communal misunderstanding.

Explained | What is the agreement to settle Bru refugees in Tripura?

Meanwhile, North Tripura District Magistrate Nagesh Kumar has written to Sub-Divisional Magistrates of Kanchanpur and Panisagar to re-visit whether all split families of Bru migrants living in the relief camps fit the criteria for a separate family. A recent report from Revenue Secretary Tanushree Debbarma revealed that “a case of a single minor” was shown as a one-person family, who was ineligible for a family ration card.

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