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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

Protest stops repatriation of Bru refugees from Tripura to Mizoram

Fifty one Bru refugee families in Tripura were sent back to Mizoram last week and more were scheduled to leave Monday when the protest erupted.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2019 16:11 IST
Priyanka Deb Barman
Priyanka Deb Barman
Hindustan Times, Agartala
Kanchanpur: Displaced Bru refugee families board a bus to return to Mizoram as part of a home ministry-sponsored rehabilitation programme, in Kanchanpur, Tripura. M
Kanchanpur: Displaced Bru refugee families board a bus to return to Mizoram as part of a home ministry-sponsored rehabilitation programme, in Kanchanpur, Tripura. M(PTI)
         

The repatriation Bru refugees from Tripura came to a halt on Monday following a protest by a group of women demanding justice for a woman who died in Mizoram on Saturday after she was set ablaze on October 3.

Fifty one Bru refugee families in Tripura were sent back to Mizoram last week and more were scheduled to leave Monday when the protest erupted.

The women started protest in the camps Monday morning and refused to return to Mizoram. The protest ended following a meeting between the administrative officials and Bru leaders at noon. But no repatriation took place even after the matter was sorted out.

The women demanded capital punishment for the culprit who allegedly killed the Bru woman. The victim, who was married to a Mizo man was allegedly set on fire. “We want justice for her. The Bru refugees need to be ensured proper security after repatriation to Mizoram,” said Asonti Reang, one of the protesters.

“The protests started in the morning regarding the issue. After a long meeting with them, they have withdrawn the protest. But till early afternoon, no one has left in Monday’s repatriation,” said Kanchanpur Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Abhedananda Baidya.

A total 51 families returned to Mizoram on October 3, on the first day of ninth phase of repatriation. The repatriation process would continue till November 3 this year.

Over 37,000 Bru people had taken shelter in Tripura in 1997 to escape an ethnic clash in Mizoram.

Currently, more than 4,000 Bru families are settled in six camps - three each at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub divisions of North district, around 200 kilometres from Agartala.

Two days before the repatriation, supplies of ration and cash benefits have been stopped to the Bru camps.

According to the central rehabilitation package, Bru adults are given Rs. 5 per day, Rs. 2.5 for each minor, 600 gram of rice on everyday basis, three soaps, a pair of slippers a year and a mosquito net in every three years.

After more than two decades, the Centre had signed a pact with Tripura and Mizoram governments and MBDPF, a forum comprising of Bru people in New Delhi on July 3 last year for repatriation of the refugees.

The post repatriation agreement promised Rs 4 lakh as fixed deposit, Rs 5,000 for a period of two years with Rs. 1.50 lakh for construction of house to each family and formation of cluster village.

Nearly 7,000 Bru refugees have returned to Mizoram in eight phases of repatriation started since 2009.