PHOTO : Bru refugees at Kanchanpur. TIWN File Photo
“From last year 19 years we are in a shades of darkness where we are in a verge of losing our identity in a search of more fertile soil, Just a place to settle peacefully is what we need” – Aslangti Reang
In the case of Reangs they are floating like pollen usually call themselves as ‘Bru’ but the term Reang is used as appellation to denote the Tribe.
The Bru or Reangs are residing along the Longkai and Terai rivers in Mammit district, the western part of Chhimtuipui district bordering Bangladesh and in western part of Lunglei district in Mizoram. On April 1998 about 50,000 Bru or Reang have fled to places like Assam, Tripura, Bangladesh and Myanmar from Mizoram because of ongoing conflict between Bru and Mizos.
The conflict between the Mizo and Reang in Mizoram got fuelled after the Killing of Dampa reserve forest guard allegedly by a Bru armed group members. As a counter attack Mizo armed group torched the Bru villages and houses which led to the fleeing of Bru people from Mizoram.
Amidst near about 35,000 of refugees are staying in seven relief camps by the Government of Tripura namely Naisingpara, Asapara, Hazacherra, Naisau, Kaskau, Khakchang and Hamsapara. Thousands of people from the camps have died due to lack of health facilities, shortage of food, inadequate drinking water, etc.
The Mizoram Bru Refugee Committee (MBRC) now known as Mizoram Bru Displaced Forum (MBDPF) has come to existence to represent the Bru people in the talks and through the organization a stance for the cause of the Bru/Reang community in Mizoram and Tripura, in protecting their rights, liberties and dignities.
It’s now 19 years they are staying in this camps there is not any proper medical and sanitation facilities. Among the refugees as 15gms of salt & 500gms of rice for the adult and 0.7gms of salt and 250gms of Rice for the minor per head per day is distributed. The cash-dole being provided to the refugees is on the basis of Rs.5/- for every adult per day and half of the amount Rs.2/- is provided to minor.
Starting from 1998 till 2015 many times repartation both self and government took place in the camps. But the demands which are made by the Bru people often come in a contradiction with the state Governments and central government. .
People out there in the camps want to go back to Mizoram but they also fear that if they face similar situation that they have gone through in the past therefore even if the repartition takes place without proper agreement they are not willing to go back. As it is a thread to their identity, development, there is no security for a bright future therefore in order to go back they should have facilities like-
- Cluster village of 500-1000 household each village
- Hospital Facilities
- Education facilities
- Proper water and sanitation facilities
- Central security force for 2 years
- 2.5-5 lakh and 2 years ration free.
The demands which are made by the Bru’s have not been omitted by the Mizo and central government.
Asapara refugee camp. Pic courtsey Anindita Datta.
The Mizoram government feels that fulfilling their demand would further disintegrate Mizoram and thus politically there will be instability. The state and central government are willing to give 80,000 rupees per family and one year of ration with a place to settle in a Mizoram.
But the Bru people don’t want to leave in a small group in Mizoram because they assume it will be a threat to their security and history of violence might repeat again.
Therefore, Bru/Reang repatriation would be possible only when the central government will make a blue print on this issue in a very effective manner. Until then the future of the people in camps will be in dark. Because despite of being in a very harsh living condition the trauma of they went through they are losing their dignity.