The Brus lodged in Tripura relief camps have made it clear that they are not willing to return to Mizoram even as the last date of repatriation has ended today, until their demands are met.
As per the pact signed by the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum with the Centre, Tripura and Mizoram on 3 July 2018, over 32,000 Bru refugees living in Tripura relief camps would be repatriated to Mizoram by 25 September 2018. But only 24 families returned as part of the agreement.
The Centre had earlier warned of suspending free ration and dismantling the camps but the Brus remained unmoved. They have placed seven fresh demands to the Centre: creation of an area development council (ADC) for the Brus in Mizoram, allocation of five hectares of land to each repatriated family, settlement in cluster villages with each housing at least 500 families, Rs.4 lakh compensation to each family before repatriation, revision of electoral rolls, identification of 1,000 left out families and general amnesty to the Brus lodged in relief camps.
“We have submitted our demands to the Union Home Ministry. It has not yet responded. We are waiting for negotiation. We asked the Central government to keep giving us ration till we are repatriated. If the demands are fulfilled today, we are ready to leave for Mizoram tomorrow. If not, we will not go. And if the supply of free ration is suspended, we will go on the warpath. We will launch a movement by staging democratic protests,” Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Coordination Committee (MBDPCC) leader Laldingliana Reang told The New Indian Express on Tuesday.
Over 35,000 Brus had fled Mizoram due to ethnic violence with Mizos in 1997. A few thousand of them have been since returned home.
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Photo credit: The Indian Express