Accusing the Mizoram government of intimidation, organisations representing Bru Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Wednesday said they wouldn’t go back to the state unless their demands are met.
They alleged that the Government of Mizoram had sent its intelligence department sleuths to visit Bru families living in Tripura relief camps to intimidate them.
“The Government of Mizoram has sent its intelligence department to visit house to house and intimidate the inmates that this attempt (of repatriation) is the last and final call for the Brus and none of the inmates will be accepted and taken back afterwards,” a joint press statement issued by Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) and others read.
Among the demands made by the organisations include verification of land allotted for them in Mizoram, one-time payment of cash benefits, and post repatriation safety and security.
“The Government of Mizoram is not following its own action plan enshrined in the road map for repatriation and the ongoing repatriation is not by peaceful means. The grievances of the Brus are completely paid no attention”, the press statement added.
The ongoing ninth phase of repatriation of Brus, which started on October 03, ran into hurdles on the second day after a protest over the death of a Bru woman who was burnt alive by her husband in Mizoram last year. On Monday, a large group of Bru women held protest in front of the relief camps and declined to return unless justice was provided to her family.
On Tuesday, a joint meeting of Mizoram and Tripura government officials was held to iron out any issues linked to the repatriation process.
The meeting ended after the Brus did not agree to relent on some of their demands. Kanchanpur SDM Abhedananda Baidya told indianexpress.com that vehicles assigned by the Government of Mizoram for repatriation have been returning empty since the last two days. The vehicles would arrive infront of Bru camps again tomorrow, Baidya added. However, those displaced have maintained they wouldn’t return until their demands are been.
Around 37,000 people of the Bru community fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram during the ethnic strife in 1997. They took shelter in makeshift relief camps in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura district. Twenty-two years on, 32,000 still live in relief camps in Agartala.
Around 5,000 displaced members of Bru community have returned in eight phases of repatriation held till today. In the ongoing ninth phase of repatriation, 210 persons have returned so far.