From Our Correspondent
Silchar, May 21: A tripartite meet was held recently in the BDO office at Damcherra between the state of Mizoram state of Tripura and the representatives of the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) to discuss the issue of repatriation of 35,000 Bru people living in 7 relief camps in the districts of North Tripura. The meet was attended by ntu Ranjan Das , TCS, sub-divisiol magistrate (SDM), Kanchanpur, Tripura North and the government of Mizoram, through the SDM, Kanschanpur, Bruno Msha, general secretary, MBDPF, R. Laldawnglia, vice- president, MBDPF and other representatives of 6 relief camps of the districts of North Tripura. The MBDPF shared this information with The Sentinel through a press-release. The Bru (also known as Reang) community is one of the indigenous tribal communities living in Mizoram since time immemorial. In October 1997, thousands of Brus were displaced from their homes in Mizoram following ethnic violence between the Brus and majority Mizos. The Brus from Bunghmun, Chikha, Tuipuibari, Damparengpui, Thaidawr, Khanthuam, Rengdil Hmuntha, Chuhvel, Kolalian, Kanthar, etc areas of the then Aizwal district of Mizoram fled to Tripura and Assam to escape atrocities. The majority of them escaped to Tripura. The Brus constituted about 10% of the total population of Mizoram. They were targeted because of their ethnic, linguistic and religious origins. The majority of the Brus are Hindus and speak their own mother language. Presently, over 35,000 Bru interlly displaced persons (IDPs) are living as refugees fearing for their lives in miserable conditions in seven relief camps, mely isingpara, Ashapara, Hazacherra, Kaskaupara, Khakchangpara, Hamsapara and isaupara under Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions in North Tripura district. In the camps which are in deplorable conditions there is a lack of basic amenities such as sufficient food and medical care, sanitation, education, safe drinking water and other such basic facilities.
The topic of discussion for the meet was the movement plan given by the Mizoram Government regarding the resumption of Bru repatriation to their tive state of Mizoram. The MBDPF representatives said the detailed ‘road map’ document has not been given to them by the Government of Mizoram. The forum said that the Governments of Mizoram and Tripura should provide in advance the list of villages where returnee Brus would be settled and also provide details regarding the number of families to be resettled in each identified village. They want the Government of Mizoram to give the Bru people necessary government aid along with the repatriating Bru people to be settled in model or cluster villages comprising 400 to 500 Bru families.
The MBDPF representatives said that the title deed of the residential plot on which housing assistance for each returnee Bru family shall be utilized along with the restoration of origil lands before repatriation must be registered immediately. This is important because during previous occasion the residential plots allotted to the returnees including the entire village were subsequently claimed by the Forest Department which led to the returnee Brus becoming homeless. He said, otherwise, going by past experiences, the Brus will be hesitant to return without any information about rehabilitation. But the Mizoram Government has not given any assurances regarding the demands till date. Bruno Msha, general secretary, MBDPF, said that the Electoral Roll of 1995 should not be the only baseline for identification of Bru families as many mes of bofide citizens are missing from the list. Therefore, all kinds of Government documents issued by Government authorities of Tripura during their stay in relief camps should be taken into consideration for rehabilitating the aggrieved Bru community into their tive state.
He further said that the rehabilitation package for repatriation of the Brus including the details of rehabilitation for each family be made public and a copy of it should be provided to the MBDPF as it will help the forum in convincing the Brus to return to return to their tive state of Mizoram. The general secretary of MBDPF said that entire assistance from the rehabilitation package allotted to each returnee Bru family should be provided to the people before repatriation as it will encourage them to return. During the previous occasions, the cash amount of relief and rehabilitation package was paid in installments as a result of which the returnee Brus could not properly utilize it.
He also said that the respective state Governments of Mizoram and Tripura should disclose the logistical arrangements being made to facilitate the repatriation of the Bru community people .In this regard, the time spent in the transit camp in Mizoram should be minimum and must be fixed. Further proper arrangements regarding transportation of the returnee Brus from the transit camps to the identified villages should be made by the government authorities concerned. The MBDPF general secretary along with other representatives has also requested the respective Mizoram and Tripura governments to furnish details of the security arrangements being made to prevent attacks on the Bru returnees.