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Refugee Crisis: Electoral Revision of Bru refugees in Tripura Relief Camps to Start Soon

Mizoram: In a major development on the status of Bru refugees staying in relief camps of Tripura, the Election commission of India (ECI) today maintained its previous stand on conducting an electoral revision of the refugees.

As per media reports, the ECI has decided that they would conduct the electoral revisions at the relief camps in Tripura itself so that a speedy conclusion can be reached on the fate of the thousands of Bru refugees.

Earlier, the Mizoram government had suggested the ECI conduct an electoral revision of the Bru or Reang refugees.

It may be mentioned that about 32, 876 people from Bru tribe were displaced due to ethnic violence and sectarian clashes in 1996. The refugees are mainly from Kolasib and Mamit districts of Mizoram. These displaced members of the Bru tribe have continued to live in the refugee camps of Tripura since then.

Following the four-corner meeting of the Union Home Ministry, the State governments of Mizoram and Tripura, as well as Mizoram Bru, Displaced People’s Forum on July 3, 2018, at New Delhi and the agreement signed thereafter the first meeting of the monitoring committee to coordinate for its implementation was slated for August 10 at Agartala.

But, the newly floated Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Coordination Committee (MBDPCC) and the representatives of Bru Internally Displaced People (BIDP) in a joint memorandum addressed to Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister, New Delhi, and submitted through the Block Development Officer, Dasda, North Tripura, on Wednesday last, expressed the feelings and views of around 30 thousand refugees for repatriation. There was a massive protest demonstration in and around the relief camps against their return to the native land on various developmental issues. Speaking over telephone from Kanchanpur refugee camp in North Tripura, Laldingliana, president of MBDPCC said, “The Bru refugees, in general, declined to endorse the agreement signed by Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum in New Delhi without seriously addressing their genuine grievances to facilitate smooth repatriation.”

The inmates of the refugee camps by and large assembled at the multi-purpose center of Naisingpara from all the seven relief camps felt a conducive environment has to be created by taking into account their genuine grievances. It was pointed out in the joint memorandum that the Mizoram government has not shown any friendly gesture to take back the refugees, languishing in camps since October 1997. There is also apprehension how far the Mizoram government will carry out the action plan in the larger interest of the refugees. In order to ensure their return and rehabilitation in a proper manner, both the Bru bodies have called for a passionate consideration of their 8 point demands.

The demands include the formation of area development council, allotment of 5 hectares of land to each repatriated family, setting up separate cluster or model villages, an extension of cash money to each Bru family at the time of repatriation. Besides, the demands are also for updating of electoral rolls before repatriation, identification of around 1000 left out families, granting of general amnesty to all IDPs and updating of ration cards. The Bru bodies have also brought to the notice of the Union Home Minister the pitiable condition of the Brus who were earlier repatriated.