Mizoram Bru refugees housed in makeshift camps in Tripura stalled another repatriation camp on Monday. Hundreds of women inmates dressed in black ensembles and carrying black flags protested around the vehicles in order to take back the refugees. It is believed that these women were sent by Mizoram’s government.
Authorities have managed to send only 46 families under a rehabilitation center sponsored by MHA(Ministry of Home Affairs) after the current repatriation initiative launched on the 3rd of October.
Over 30,000 Bru also known as Reang, refugees are stranded in six camps in Kanchanpur province of north Tripura. They have been residing over there since they fled ethnic strife in Mizoram in September 1997.
The protestors demanded fulfillment of eight demands which include the creation of Bru Autonomous District Council under the sixth Schedule of the constitution- a demand the Mizoram government rejected outright several times in the past.
Paramilitary troops were deployed at Ashapura refugee camp-largest of six camps -and adjoining areas in view of the protests. Leaders of the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum(MBDPF), the apex body of evacuees, were not seen at protest sites.
The MHA’s rehabilitation package includes one-time cash support of Rs. 1.30 Lakh per family and monthly assistance of Rs.500 to returnee families for two years. Besides, free ration for them for two years was also assured.
An MHA convened meeting held in New Delhi which was attended by senior officials of Tripura and Mizoram governments and top-office bearers of the MBDPF resolved to resume stalled repatriation from October 3.