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Bru leaders say repatriation still uncertain

By Zodinsanga & Prabir sil
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Aizawl/AGARTALA Oct 23 - Even though Mizoram Government is planning to start repatriation of Bru refugees from Tripura from November, leaders of Mizoram Bru Displaced People Forum(MBDPF), an umbrella organisation of the displaced Brus, feel that the planned repatriation is still uncertain because both Mizoram and Central Governments are �reluctant� to fulfill their demands.

�The MBDPF feels that the repatriation is still uncertain because Central and Mizoram Governments are reluctant to find their ways and means for a pragmatic solution of the demands of Bru refugees like allotment of five hectare of land for each family, enhancement of cash assistance, inclusion of 600 Bru families (in the repatriation) who fled in 2009 incident,� said the MBDPF statement signed by its president A Sawibunga and general secretary Bruno Msha.

The statement added the MBDPF would not be responsible for any hindrance to the planned repatriation.

The MBDPF issued the statement following a tripartite meeting of Mizoram and Tripura Governments and the organisation on Friday at Dhamcherra in Tripura.

In the meeting, Mizoram�s additional secretary for Home Lalbiakzama said that though the Mizoram Government was aware of the grievances and demands of MBDPF, most of the points were of Central Government�s concerns and could not be fulfilled alone by the State Government.

�The visit of three districts of Mizoram � Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei � by MBDPF leaders to inspect the rehabilitation centres selected by the Mizoram Government is extremely sensitive and is yet to be decided,� Lalbiakzama said in the meeting.

Lalbiakzama also made it clear that allotment of five hectares of land to each family and written assurance for police protection to the repatriated Brus were not possible.

Lalbiakzama informed the meeting that identification of bona fide residents of Mizoram would be conducted from November 1, while the physical repatriation could start by mid-January, 2017.

However, absence of official clearance on the Road Map by the Ministry of Home Affairs might result in the delay of actual repatriation, Mizoram Home department officials said, adding that the actual repatriation may take off only by early next year unless the MHA speeds up the clearance and sanction of fund for the expenses as sought in the Road Map - V.

The meeting concluded by adopting resolution to start population identification of Bru IDPs in all six relief camps from 2.10.2016, to issue Birth Certification to all children who born in relief camps since 1997 most of the demands raised by the MBDPF will be discussed and sorted out by the involvement of MHA in future meeting.

The Government of Mizoram informed the meeting that the physical repatriation may be started by mid-January, 2017. �This may not take place if genuine problems of Bru refugees are not addressed properly�, the MBDPF leaders said.

Thousands of Brus in Mizoram western belt migrated to Tripura in 1997 following ethnic clashes with Mizos triggered by the killing of a Mizo forest official by Bru militants. Hundreds others joined them in 2009 due to similar conflict sparked off by the gunning down of a Mizo youth in Bungthuam village allegedly by Bru militants.

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Bru leaders say repatriation still uncertain

Aizawl/AGARTALA Oct 23 - Even though Mizoram Government is planning to start repatriation of Bru refugees from Tripura from November, leaders of Mizoram Bru Displaced People Forum(MBDPF), an umbrella organisation of the displaced Brus, feel that the planned repatriation is still uncertain because both Mizoram and Central Governments are �reluctant� to fulfill their demands.

�The MBDPF feels that the repatriation is still uncertain because Central and Mizoram Governments are reluctant to find their ways and means for a pragmatic solution of the demands of Bru refugees like allotment of five hectare of land for each family, enhancement of cash assistance, inclusion of 600 Bru families (in the repatriation) who fled in 2009 incident,� said the MBDPF statement signed by its president A Sawibunga and general secretary Bruno Msha.

The statement added the MBDPF would not be responsible for any hindrance to the planned repatriation.

The MBDPF issued the statement following a tripartite meeting of Mizoram and Tripura Governments and the organisation on Friday at Dhamcherra in Tripura.

In the meeting, Mizoram�s additional secretary for Home Lalbiakzama said that though the Mizoram Government was aware of the grievances and demands of MBDPF, most of the points were of Central Government�s concerns and could not be fulfilled alone by the State Government.

�The visit of three districts of Mizoram � Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei � by MBDPF leaders to inspect the rehabilitation centres selected by the Mizoram Government is extremely sensitive and is yet to be decided,� Lalbiakzama said in the meeting.

Lalbiakzama also made it clear that allotment of five hectares of land to each family and written assurance for police protection to the repatriated Brus were not possible.

Lalbiakzama informed the meeting that identification of bona fide residents of Mizoram would be conducted from November 1, while the physical repatriation could start by mid-January, 2017.

However, absence of official clearance on the Road Map by the Ministry of Home Affairs might result in the delay of actual repatriation, Mizoram Home department officials said, adding that the actual repatriation may take off only by early next year unless the MHA speeds up the clearance and sanction of fund for the expenses as sought in the Road Map - V.

The meeting concluded by adopting resolution to start population identification of Bru IDPs in all six relief camps from 2.10.2016, to issue Birth Certification to all children who born in relief camps since 1997 most of the demands raised by the MBDPF will be discussed and sorted out by the involvement of MHA in future meeting.

The Government of Mizoram informed the meeting that the physical repatriation may be started by mid-January, 2017. �This may not take place if genuine problems of Bru refugees are not addressed properly�, the MBDPF leaders said.

Thousands of Brus in Mizoram western belt migrated to Tripura in 1997 following ethnic clashes with Mizos triggered by the killing of a Mizo forest official by Bru militants. Hundreds others joined them in 2009 due to similar conflict sparked off by the gunning down of a Mizo youth in Bungthuam village allegedly by Bru militants.

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