Mizoram Bru repatriation to start from Nov.: MHA official

Agartala[India], Aug. 31 : Repatriation of Mizoram Bru tribal refugees, sheltered in seven camps in northern part of Tripura for the last 19 years, shall start from the first week of November, said a senior official of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

He informed this to the media after a meeting with the representatives of the refugees, Mizoram Government and Tripura Government.

MHA Special Secretary M.K. Singla, Join Secretary of MHA in-charge of northeast S.K. Garg along with Lalbiakzama Additional Secretary (Home) Mizoram, Bru refugee representative, Vanlalruata Vice President Central YMA (Young Mizo Association) Mizoram, Elvis Chorkhy Chairman of Bru Co-ordination Committee Mizoram and officials of Tripura Government took part in the meeting held at the State Guest house here.

Singla informed the talks have been fruitful, adding the repatriation process should start from the coming month of November.

The Special Secretary MHA said that there should not be any hurdle in the repatriation process as most of the demands of the refugees have been accepted this time.

Meantime, Additional Secretary (Home) of Mizoram Lalbiakzama informed that the state government has prepared a road-map and submitted it to the MHA for the repatriation of the Bru refugees.

He added that the number of refugees is not static and constantly increasing with birth of children in the camps and hence the number of identified refugees should not be a hurdle to the impetus in the repatriation process going to start in the first week of November.

Meanwhile, the representative of the YMA Vanlalruata viewed that the Mizo society wants the Bru's to return to their home state and at present the number of Bru people in Mizoram outnumber those staying in refugee camp in Tripura and which proves that there is no problem for the Bru to stay with the Mizos.

He added that this time it is a golden opportunity for the Brus to return to Mizoram and hoped that they shall take the maximum advantage out of it.

Bru Co-ordination Committee of Mizoram chairman Elvis Chorkhy also appealed to inmates to return to Mizoram and join a normal life instead of living in camps where the children are deprived of education and employment scope.

The MHA officials would go to Mizoram on Wednesday and talk to the tribal leaders and state government officials there to finalise the ways and means of the much-awaited repatriation of refugees.

The MHA officials visited Tripura and Mizoram earlier in June and July and persuaded the 31,300 Reang tribal refugees to return to their homes at the earliest.

The MHA undertook serious efforts after the Supreme Court's directives about the repatriation of the refugees.

The Mizoram Government submitted a roadmap to the Centre on how it plans to rehabilitate the displaced people.

The Tripura official said the Supreme Court had asked the Union Home Ministry and the Mizoram and Tripura Governments to jointly work for the return of the tribal refugees to their homes in Mizoram.

About 35,000 Reang tribals, who call themselves 'Bru', have been living in seven makeshift camps in North Tripura's Kanchanpur area adjoining Mizoram since October 1997.

They had fled ethnic violence in western Mizoram following the killing of a Mizo forest officer at the Dampa Tiger Reserve.

Despite several initiatives by the Mizoram Government to bring them back, the refugees have been reluctant to go back to their villages unless their demands for food and security are met.

Source: ANI