November 22, 2019 5:31:25 pm
It is impossible to settle Bru migrants in Mizoram’s Dampa Tiger Reserve, a top source in the Mizoram government said Friday.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, a senior official of Mizoram Home Department said, “The roadmap for repatriation submitted to the Supreme Court was very clear that Bru migrants would be resettled back in their own villages or villages under nearest police stations. I don’t feel there is any question of changing this roadmap, which was agreed upon by the Supreme Court of India and the Government of India. There is no question of settling them in Dampa Tiger Reserve.”
Earlier on Friday, Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha told a press conference that they have scaled down their contentious demands like a Bru Autonomous District Council (ADC), cluster villages, rearrangement of resettlement locations, etc. to just two points. These are resettlement of migrant Brus at Dampa Tiger Reserve and a post-repatriation development package under the Ministry of DoNER, Ministry of Tribal Welfare and Ministry of Minority Welfare.
The migrants reasoned that many Brus were traditional forest dwellers at Dampa forest till 1986 when it was declared a tiger reserve. The Brus believe there are no tigers at Dampa and cited Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech from last year where he said while releasing results of All India Tiger Estimation that tigers are declining in Mizoram. “With no tigers there, there should be no problem in resettling us there,” Msha said.
On the issue, the Mizoram Home Department official said, “Mizoram state government is not the authority to make calls on issues like relocating Brus in a tiger reserve. Besides, we relocated two villages from Dampa Tiger Reserve with over Rs. 40 crore support from the Government of India. How can we put anyone in the tiger reserve?”
Meanwhile, over 700 Brus have already returned to Mizoram in the ongoing ninth phase of repatriation, which will continue till November 30. At least 5,000 others had returned in the previous eight phases of repatriation to Mizoram.
Around 32,000 Brus still live in six transit of Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura since 1997. They fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram during ethnic clashes in that year.
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