File picture of Brus living in refugee camps in Tripura

Agartala: After writing to the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA), the Bru refugees of Tripura have now approached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking assistance over their repatriation to Mizoram.

In an eight-point memorandum, the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Coordination Committee (MBDPCC) has said that the Bru refuges who are living in the camps are willing to return to Mizoram but the package offered and the four-corner agreement signed on July 3 last year between the governments of Tripura and Mizoram and the Centre, besides the MBDPCC, have to be changed. The memorandum also said that the demands that they have placed earlier have to be fulfilled.

Over 32,000 Bru refugees are taking shelter in various camps in Tripura

“Camp inmates want a proper and permanent solution for our future generation and our demands fall under the Constitution of India. However, racial discrimination of the majority Mizos and its government in Mizoram, antagonised time and again on the basis of manpower and majority ethnic community of the state,” the memorandum reads.

The demands submitted before the PM include formation of an autonomous district council for Brus, allotment of five-hectare land to each repatriated family, setting up of cluster villages, granting Rs 4 lakh cash compensation to each repatriated family, updating electoral rolls, identification of people left out in electoral roll revision by Mizoram officials and deployment of central security forces in Mizoram after repatriation.

Earlier, the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), which was formed after the agreement signed by the MBDPCC was rejected, wrote to the (MHA) to release the cash dole of three pending months.

Bruno Msha, secretary of MBDPF said, “We are going to launch a series of protests if the cash dole and the pending items are not provided at the earliest.”

Msha further informed that 11 Bru migrant organisations led by the MBDPF would take out a series of agitations from February 13 to March 5. These would include a mass rally from Naisingpara to Dasda RD Block, a three-day sit-in demonstration at SDM’s office, road block from Kanchanpur to Ananda Bazaar in Kanchanpur, 100-km-long March from Naisingpara to District Magistrate’s office in Dharmanagar.

11 Bru migrant organisations led by the MBDPF plan to take out a series of agitations from February 13 to March 5

Meanwhile, the MBDPF has also appealed to Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga to take initiative in solving their 22-year-old problem. In a memorandum to Zoramthanga, MBDPF general secretary Msha has requested the newly elected chief minister to give proper attention to the problems faced by 32,000 Bru refugees living in Tripura.

The Bru refugees are living in six relief camps at Kanchanpur sub-division in North Tripura district since 1997.

Msha also expressed hope that the new state government will soon convene a meeting with Bru leaders to discuss the issues of repatriation and rehabilitation of the displaced Brus lodged in the relief camps in North Tripura district.

“Please try to give top priority to the Bru issue so that all the communities in the state could live with dignity and honour,” the memorandum said.

Over 37,000 Brus fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of neighbouring Mizoram during ethnic clashes in 1997. They took shelter in six relief camps set up in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura districts. Till date, 7,000 Brus have returned to Mizoram in eight phases of repatriation but more arrived in 2009 due to renewed conflict. As of now, more than 32,000 Brus are living in relief camps in Tripura.

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