Scores of Bru families from at least three villages in Mizoram’s western Mamit district have fled to Tripura or taken refuge in nearby villages for safety as emotions flare up over the kidnapping of three men by Bangladesh-based militants a few months back.
As Mizo Zirlai Pawl, a powerful students’ union begins a mass voluntary search operation from Wednesday, Bru families apparently fear a repeat of the 1997-ethnic violence. The violence between Mizos and Brus had sent 6,000 Bru families to relief camps in Tripura (as many as 5,000 families still languish there in spite of an ongoing repatriation process).
Bru leaders and senior police officials told The Indian Express that an exodus has taken place from at least three villages including Damdiai, Tumpanglui and New Eden in the past few days. Sources put the number of those who have fled at about 70.
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The move comes days after three men — a Kolkata-based telecommunications professional and two Mizoram-based drivers, were kidnapped near the Indo-Bangladesh border on November 23 last year by National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) militants aided by Bru militants.
The kidnappers had demanded Rs 5 crores for their release and set a deadline of January 15, but the Mizoram government ruled out paying any such ransom saying it will set a precedence.