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11 Bru families return to Mizoram after deadline

Mizoram

11 Bru families return to Mizoram after deadline

Aizawl: At least 11 more Bru families have returned from Tripura to Mizoram on Wednesday even as the deadline for repatriation expired on Tuesday evening, Mizoram home department officials said.

State home department joint secretary Lalbiaksangi said that 11 Bru families were repatriated on Wednesday to Mamit district though 17 families were to return.

“Although 17 families are said to return to Mizoram according to initial information, only 11 families have returned from relief camps in Tripura. The refugees would be re-settled in Mamit district,” she said.

Of the 11 Bru families comprising 67 people, 7 families would settle at Sihthiang village, 3 families at Bungthuam village and one family at Bawrai village, all in Mamit district, an official statement said.

The repatriated families were given Rs 5000 each as repatriation compensation, the statement added.

Lalbiaksangi said that the state government would cooperate the Union Home ministry in repatriating the willing Bru families though the deadline for repatriation has already expired on Tuesday evening.

So far 31 Bru families from Tripura have returned to Mizoram since August despite the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Coordination Committee (MBDPCC) refusal to budge unless the centre accepts its 7 points charter of demand.

Initially, 3 families returned to Mizoram in August followed by 17 families on 19 September and 11 families on Wednesday.

According to Lalbiaksangi, 17 Bru families repatriated from Hazacherra relief camp on 19 September are currently lodging at a makeshift camp in Tlabung town in Mizoram’s Lunglei district bordering Bangladesh.

Demands of Brus

Meanwhile, the MBDPCC has remained adamant that the Bru families would not return to Mizoram unless the Centre fulfills their charter of demands.

Speaking over phone, MBDPCC president Laldingliana Reang said they have submitted seven-point demands to the Union Home Ministry and they are yet to receive response.

Among others, the Bru tribal demanded the creation of Area Development Council (ADC) for the Brus in Mizoram, allocation of five hectares of land to each refugee family, cluster villages with each housing at least 500 families, Rs.4 lakh compensation to each family before repatriation and revision of electoral rolls in relief camps.

Laldingliana said that they are willing to return to Mizoram if the centre fulfills at least some important points of their demands.

Earlier the centre had warned that it would stop doling out free ration to the Bru refugees from 1 October and close down all the relief camps once the repatriation is over.

Laldingliana said that they would first appeal to the Centre to continue extending free ration to the refugees failing which they would resort to agitation on democratic way.

Thousands of Brus fled Mizoram and migrated to Tripura following ethnic violence triggered by the murder of a Mizo forest guard by Bru militants in 1997.

According to the quadripartite agreement signed between the Centre, representatives of the Mizoram and Tripura governments and Bru leaders on July 3, about 32,876 Bru people belonging to 5,407 would return to Mizoram from August.

However, an initial attempt to repatriate the Bru tribal in August turned futile as no families barring three refused to return because they did not accept the repatriation package offered by the Centre.

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Mr. Khojol is a journalist based in Aizawl, Mizoram. He writes for various national and regional media houses. In his free time, he can be caught reading books and watching movies.

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