Bru groups move Shah on Dampa resettlement, security

From Our Special Correspondent

GUWAHATI: Representatives of four Bru NGOs have urged the Centre to enable displaced Brus to re-settle in their old villages inside the Dampa wildlife sanctuary besides helping them preserve their ethnic identity and culture through a ‘permanent development project’.
A joint memorandum to Union Home Minister Amit Shah was submitted in this regard by the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum (MBDPF), Mizoram Bru Indigenous Democratic Movement (MBIDM), Bru Tribal Development Society and Bru Displaced Women Welfare Committee through the sub-divisional magistrate, Kanchanpur, north Tripura on Monday.
More than 12,000 inmates of the seven relief camps also took part in a mass procession from the Naisingpara relief camp in north Tripura to Dasda on Monday reiterating fulfilment of key demands before repatriation. The procession covered a distance of 15 km.
Earlier, a threadbare meeting of the NGO leaders and some inmates of the relief camps resolved that for smooth repatriation to Mizoram, all the displaced Brus should be resettled in the Dampa wildlife sanctuary (under the Union ministry of environment and forest) where the community had lived since time immemorial.
“The Brus have been living compactly and contiguously in Dampa Valley. There are many historical signs and monuments to prove that the Brus are inhabitants of the valley. But the Mizoram government has intentionally established the sanctuary in the area in 1985 while declaring it a tiger reserve in 1994,” the NGOs stated in the memorandum to Shah.
“Presently, none of the villagers living near the sanctuary have come across any tigers there. Few years back, the forest department had conducted a tiger census by installing CCTVs but none of them captured images of any tigers,” it said.
Besides, the NGOs urged the Centre and Mizoram government to come up with the permanent development project to provide livelihood opportunities to educated Bru youths.
“Otherwise, the Brus shall never be able to survive in Mizoram after repatriation,” the memorandum stated.
The Bru organisations also said that the displaced people from the community are reluctant to undergo repatriation owing to non-consideration of the minimum and simple demands raised under the framework of the quadrilateral agreement.
The NGOs further urged the Centre to reconsider its decision to stop free ration to the inmates of the relief camps and release the same immediately to avoid law and order breakdown besides preventing starvation-induced deaths.