GUWAHATI: Over 35,000 displaced Brus, lodged in six refugee camps in Tripura, may not be given another chance to get repatriated to Mizoram after November 30.
The Mizoram government has decided that there would not be another process to repatriate the refugees. The ongoing process of repatriation, which is the ninth and final, will expire on November 30. It began on October 3.
A meeting of Mizoram ministers, chaired by Chief Minister Zoramthanga and held on Friday, decided against another process of repatriation.
Early last month, the Centre had suspended the supply of free ration to the inmates of refugee camps. It was resumed on Friday as the “hungry” refugees went on the warpath in protest by blocking a major road for days together. The government has made it clear that the ration would keep coming only till November 30.
Tripura’s royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, who resigned as state Congress chief recently, insisted the displaced Brus be provided land by the Tripura government so they could continue to live here. He said they were original inhabitants of Tripura.
“If you can accept lakhs and lakhs of people from another country (read Bangladesh), then why can’t you accept the Brus who were natives of Tripura until being displaced by the Dumbur hydro-electric plant,” Debbarma asked.
He continued: “If the Tripura government can consider giving 2,700 acres of land for the BSF firing range, why can’t it do the same for the Brus? How can you stop the free ration to them? This is ridiculous”.
The Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) said the refugees would return to Mizoram provided the government acceded to their “simple” demands.
“They want to live in some compact areas of Mizoram with security. They also want that there are some special projects that will take care of their welfare. If these are not accepted, I feel they will not like to go back to Mizoram,” MBDPF general secretary Bruno Msha told this newspaper.
Over 40,000 Brus had fled to Tripura from Mizoram in 1998 in the wake of their riots with the Mizos. In the past one month or so, 100 of near 5,000 refugee families returned to Mizoram.