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After more than two decades, Bru refugees to go back to Mizoram

A total of 5407 families living in six camps spread over Jampai Hills in Tripura would be repatriated back to Mizoram and all the camps will be closed before October 1, said a home ministry spokesperson.

india Updated: Jul 03, 2018 23:13 IST
Priyanka Deb Barman and Sadiq Naqvi
Priyanka Deb Barman and Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Agartala/Guwahati
Bru refugees,Union Home Ministry,Mizoram government
Over 35,000 Bru tribals, who took refuge in Tripura in 1997 following ethnic violence in Mizoram, remain stranded in seven camps in Kanchanpur, North Tripura. (Burhaan Kinu/HT)

The Union Home Ministry on Tuesday nailed the deal to repatriate the Bru refugees from Tripura back to Mizoram in the next few months, ending a long-standing crisis.

After years of negotiations, an agreement was signed by the Centre, Mizoram government, Tripura government and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) setting in motion the plan to provide homes and employment to around 32,876 persons in three districts of Mizoram.

Each Bru refugee family will get Rs 4 lakh as fixed deposit, Rs 5000 every month for a period of two years and Rs. 1.50 lakh for constructing houses as part of the repatriation package. Additionally, they have been assured of free ration for two years. Home minister Rajnath Singh, Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla and Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb were present during the signing of the agreement along with other officials, a home ministry spokesperson said.

According to the spokesperson, 5407 families are living in six camps spread over Jampai Hills in Tripura and they would be repatriated back to Mizoram and all the camps will be closed before October 1. A monitoring committee has been constituted comprising of representatives from Tripura and Mizoram, MBDPF with special secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs as the head, the spokesperson said.

“Government of India will provide financial assistance for rehabilitation of Brus in Mizoram and address their issues of security, education, livelihood etc. in consultation with governments of Mizoram and Tripura. A committee under Special Secretary (Internal Security) will coordinate the implementation of this agreement,” a release from the Union Home Ministry said.

Thousands of Brus, also called Reangs, fled Mizoram in 1997 after ethnic violence erupted post the murder of a Mizo forest guard by Bru militants in Mizoram’s Mamit district.

“The repatriation will start immediately,” a top Mizoram official part of the negotiations said. “We are in the process of earmarking land in consultation with the village councils which will be allotted to them,” the official said explaining how the Brus will be rehabilitated in Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei, the three districts they fled from.

When contacted, MBDPF secretary Bruno Msha said that they are ‘satisfied’ with the agreement.”We needed a solution to this 22-year-old problem. Finally, we are happy that we could start a normal life again,” Msha said.

(With inputs from agencies in New Delhi)

First Published: Jul 03, 2018 23:12 IST