REST OF NORTHEAST

Despite stir, repatriation of Reang refugees as planned

Reang refugees

AGARTALA, July 16: Despite a hunger strike by a few refugees, the repatriation of Reang tribals from Tripura to Mizoram would start from August 16 as scheduled, an official said on Monday.

Some refugees continued their hunger strike in relief camps in Kanchanpur, about 180 km north of Tripura capital Agartala, for the fifth day on Monday demanding advance payment of a financial assistance announced by the Union Home Ministry.

The agitating refugees are also demanding two-hectares of land after their repatriation to Mizoram.
“Union Home Ministry’s advisor Mahesh Kumar Singla held meetings with the refugee leaders and other officials to finalise the strategy of repatriation,” North Tripura District Magistrate Raval Hamendra Kumar told IANS over phone from the district headquarters, Dharmanagar.

He said during the repatriation, the Tripura government would provide security and logistical support, including transportation, to the refugees.

A Tripura home department official said here on Monday that Union Home Secretary’s Special Secretary (Internal Security) Rina Mitra would on Wednesday meet officials of Tripura and Mizoram governments. Leaders of Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), the apex body of the refugees, would also attend the meeting.

“The meeting would finalise an action plan for the repatriation,” the official said.

he 32,876 Reang tribals, locally known as “Bru”, have been living in six makeshift camps in north Tripura’s Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions, adjoining Mizoram, for the past 21 years. They had fled their homes in western Mizoram following ethnic strife. The trouble in the state started after a Mizo forest official was killed.
After a series of meetings, the representatives of the Tripura, Mizoram governments, Union Home Ministry officials and the MBDPF signed an agreement on July 3 in New Delhi. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and his Mizoram counterpart Lal Thanhawla were also present in the meeting. As per the agreement, the refugees, comprising 5,407 families, would start returning to their homes from August 16. The multi-phase repatriation would be completed by September 30. (IANS)