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Mizoram Bru refugees stall another repatriation attempt in north Tripura

The demands include creation of a Bru Autonomous District Council under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution – a demand the Mizoram government rejected outright several times in the past. | File

The demands include creation of a Bru Autonomous District Council under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution – a demand the Mizoram government rejected outright several times in the past. | File   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

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Authorities managed to send only 46 families under a rehabilitation package sponsored by the Ministry of Home Affairs

Mizoram Bru refugees housed in makeshift camps in north Tripura stalled another repatriation initiative on Monday. Hundreds of women inmates dressed in black fatigues and carrying black flags staged noisy protests around the vehicles sent by Mizoram government to take back the refugees.

Authorities managed to send only 46 families under a rehabilitation package sponsored by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after the current repatriation initiative launched on October 3. Over 30,000 Bru, also known as Reang, refugees are stranded in six camps in Kanchanpur subdivision of north Tripura since they fled ethnic strife in Mizoram in September 1997.

The protesters, all women, demanded fulfillment of eight demands before resumption of repatriation. The demands include creation of a 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 Ashapara refugee camp – largest of six camps — and adjoining areas in view of the protests. Leaders of the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF), apex body of the evacuees, were not seen at protest sites.

The MHA’s rehabilitation package includes one-time cash support of ₹1.30 lakh per family and monthly assistance of ₹500 to returnee families for two years. Besides, free ration for them for two years was also assured.

A 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. Refugee leaders backtracked from the agreement.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 12:44:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mizoram-bru-refugees-stall-another-repatriation-attempt-in-north-tripura/article29616149.ece

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