GUWAHATI: The Centre-stipulated November 30 deadline for their repatriation is drawing near but so far only 892 out of the over 35,000 displaced Brus have returned to Mizoram.
Official sources said 351 of those repatriated were minors. The repatriated families are currently settled in Mizoram’s Mamit, Lunglei and Kolasib districts.
Over 40,000 Brus had fled to Tripura from Mizoram in 1997 in the wake of ethnic riots and were sheltered in six refugee camps. The Centre said this is the last and final round of their repatriation. The process began on October 3.
As most refugees are not willing to return to Mizoram, the Centre had suspended the supply of free ration and cash dole to them. Later, as they went on the warpath in protest by blocking a major road for days together, the government resumed providing the free ration.
Every adult refugee gets Rs.3.50 and 600 grams of rice per day as allowances. For each minor, it is Rs.2.50 and 300 grams of rice.
Four camp inmates, including an infant, had died within a few days in the first week of this month and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum claimed the cause of deaths was starvation. Later, authorities in Tripura had sent two bodies for post-mortem. However, the report has not been made public yet.
Earlier this week, a Supreme Court lawyer, representing the refugees, served a legal notice to six officials including Tripura Director General of Police, Akhil Kumar Shukla, on the issue of suspension of ration and allowances to the inmates of refugee camps.
The refugees say they will return to Mizoram only if the government fulfills certain demands which include their relocation to a “compact” area of Mizoram with security, special projects that will take care of them etc.