NEW DELHI: Only 48 of the total 5,407 families of Bru refugees have been repatriated to Mizoram from Tripura following the signing of a four-corner agreement between Centre, refugee leaders and governments of Mizoram and Tripura last year.
According to the original agreement signed in July 2018, 5,407 Bru families were to return to Mizoram by September. In January, the centre extended the deadline of repatriation till March 31. Over 37,000 Brus had fled Mizoram after ethnic clashes in 1997.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs found out the law repatriation rate and has expressed concern over the matter.
In a report submitted to the Rajya Sabha last week, the panel said, "The Committee expresses its concern over the abysmally low number of families repatriated, and, as against the targeted 5407 families, only 48 families (less than 1%), could be repatriated to the State of Mizoram. The committee, however, expresses its satisfaction over the increase in monetary assistance."
The committee, headed by former Union Home Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, said that the government must develop a conducive environment by initiating dialogue with stakeholders "for peaceful assimilation of the Brus in Mizoram".
It said that the government "must expedite" repatriation of Brus. The panel was also anguished with the government not responding to its earlier recommendation of reviewing the "poor living conditions in the six relief camps" in Tripura where Brus have been residing after their exodus from Mizoram.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs has also not provided the details of action taken by government or the actions which have been contemplated by the Government, for improving the living conditions. The committee, therefore, reiterates its earlier recommendation. and desires that a comprehensive and early action taken report be provided to the Committee for its perusal," read the report.
Central government started eighth phase of repatriation (since the exodus) for Bru migrants from August 25 2018, as per the four-corner agreement. However, the repatriation package offered to them was rejected by most refugees, who termed it "insufficient".
The centre announced that each family will be given Rs 4 lakh as one-time financial assistance, Rs 5,000 cash assistance per month for two years, Rs 1.5 lakh to build a house, and free ration for two years.