The Indigenous Brus, also known as Reangs, are spread across the remote and underreported northeast Indian states of Tripura and Mizoram—bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Following ethnic clashes in 1997, more than 37,000 Brus fled Mizoram and were given shelter in relief camps in the adjoining state of Tripura. Twenty-five years after the displacement, an agreement was signed among the Bru leaders and the government to permanently resettle the Brus in Tripura.
As part of a Rs 600-crore package to resettle the Brus across six districts of Tripura, forest lands have been converted as resettlement locations, to put an end to over two decades of displacement. This is perhaps one of the largest internal migrations in India caused by ethnic conflict.
Several Bru migrants have alleged that the land allotted to them is unfit for construction. The location isn’t favorable as the plots are downhill, on slopes of hillocks, and on loose soil, which will make it extremely difficult for housing structures to stand firm, especially during the monsoons. The resettlement locations lack basic necessities such as water, medical facilities, and schools, along with poor road connectivity. Journalist Sanskrita Bharadwaj’s story is a deep dive on this internal migration and the present-day dubious resettlement locations that has received negligible coverage in mainstream Indian media.