Examining the Bru–Mizo Conflict in India’s North East


The Discussion Map charts important debates from the pages of E​PW.


On 21 November 2020, one person was killed and at least 20 people were injured when Tripura Police lathi-charged and open fired at people who were holding an indefinite demonstration against the Tripura government’s plan to resettle Brus from Mizoram. 

The conflict between Brus, Mizos, and Chakmas dates back to at least 1997, when “37,000 people of the Bru (or Reang) tribe fled to Tripura from Mizoram, on account of ethnic clashes there.” 

Roluahpuia, in a 2018 article, traces the conflict between the Brus and the Mizos since 1996 and delves deeper into attempts at providing welfare support and repatriation after the former’s displacement from Mizoram. Roluahpuia argues that acts by the Bru National Liberation Front have increased the hostility between the two ethnic groups. 

Shyamal Bikash Chakma And Suraj Gogoi reply to Roluahpuia, arguing that he “consciously, deliberately and selectively, points out the demand for autonomous district councils, and the attack on a Mizo forest guard by the Brus.” They contend that Brus are the victims, and not the Mizos as suggested by Roluahpuia. 

Roluahpuia replies to Chakma and Gogoi, arguing that they selectively deploy sources to support their narrative instead of considering the “complex history of settlement control and regulation.” He adds that Chakma and Gogoi overlook the efforts by right-wing organisations to frame the conflict in terms of religious persecution by the predominantly Christian Mizos against the “Hindu” Brus.

A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:

  1. Quit Mizoram Notices: Fear of the Other, N William Singh, 2014
  2. Mizoram: Minority Report, Paritosh Chakma, 2009
  3. Memories and Memorials of the Mizo National Front Movement: Problems and Politics of Memorialisation, Roluahpuia, 2018

Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at edit@epw.in with the subject line—"Ethnicity and Belonging."


Curated by Abhishek Shah [abhishekshah@epw.in]


Image courtesy: Modified. Wikimedia Commons/Bogman [CC BY-SA 3.0]

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