Who are Brus?
- Bru or Reang is a community indigenous to Northeast India, living mostly in Tripura, Mizoram and Assam.
- In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group. In Mizoram, they have been targeted by groups that do not consider them indigenous to the state.
- In 1997, following ethic clashes, nearly 37,000 Brus fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram and were accommodated in relief camps in Tripura.
- Ethnic clashes in 1995 with the majority Mizos led to the demand for the removal of the Brus, perceived to be non-indigenous, from Mizoram’s electoral rolls.
- This led to an armed movement by a Bru outfit, which killed a Mizo forest official in October 1997. The retaliatory ethnic violence saw more than 35,000 Brus fleeing to adjoining Tripura where they took shelter in six relief camps.
- In June 2018, community leaders from the Bru camps signed an agreement with the Centre and the two state governments, providing for repatriation in Mizoram. But most camp residents rejected the terms of the agreement.
- According to them, the agreement doesn’t guarantee their safety in Mizoram.
- A quadrilateral agreement was signed among the Bru groups, the Centre and the State governments of Mizoram and Tripura in January 2020 to let the remaining 35,000 refugees who have stayed back to be resettled in Tripura.
|As a part of the January 2020 agreement, the Centre announced a package of Rs 600 crore which includes:
Why in News?
Three organisations representing the Bru community displaced from Mizoram have rejected the sites proposed by the Joint Movement Committee (JMC), an umbrella group of non-Brus in Tripura (comprising of Bengali, Mizo, Buddhist Barua and other communities), for their resettlement.
Why are they opposing?
- 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 claim that the sites proposed by the JMC are unconnected by road and electricity and too far from hospitals, schools and other facilities.
- They have also rejected the demand for inclusion of four JMC members in the monitoring team for the resettlement of the Bru, as they are having no connection or involvement in the issue of either repatriation to Mizoram or resettlement in Tripura during the last 23 years.
- In India, tribal population makes up for 8.6% of the total population. Tribal people live in about 15% of the geographical area of the country.
- Among them some groups are declared as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) based on the following criteria.
- A pre-agriculture level of technology;
- A stagnant or declining population;
- Extremely low literacy; and
- A subsistence level of economy.
- In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups.
- In 2006, the Government of India renamed the PTGs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.
- 75 tribal groups have been categorized by the Ministry of Home Affairs as PVTGs.
- PVTGs reside in 18 States and UT of A&N Islands.
- Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs implements the Scheme of “Development of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)” exclusively for them.
- PVTGs depend on various livelihoods such as food gathering, Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), hunting, livestock rearing, shifting cultivation and artisan works. Most of their livelihoods depend on the forest.