Agartala/Aizawl, May 9 (IANS): The Bru tribals who have take refuge in Tripura are reluctant to return to their homes in Mizoram. They accuse the Mizoram government of not ensuring their security and livelihood, an official said on Friday.
A Triupra district administration official said refugee leaders told the Supreme Court Special Commissioner Harsh Mander that if the Mizoram government ensures their security and livelihood, they have no problem in returning to their villages.
The official said the refugee leaders accused the Mizoram government of failing to ensure their security and livelihood.
Mander accompanied by North Tripura District Magistrate Sandeep R. Rathod and Kanchanpur Sub-divisional Magistrate Nantu Ranjan Das Thursday visited the tribal refugee camps in North Tripura to oversee their relief and rehabilitation.
Over 36,000 Reang tribal refugees live in seven camps since October 1997 when they fled their villages in western Mizoram after an ethnic conflict broke out with majority of Mizos over the killing of a Mizo forest official.
The refugees - locally known as 'Bru' - insist on a written agreement with the Mizoram government assuring them security and economic settlement in their villages in western Mizoram.
The Mizoram government recently undertook a fresh initiative to take back the tribal refugees.
"A meeting of the State Level Core Committee on tribal refugee repatriation, chaired by Mizoram Home Minister R. Lalzirliana, was held in Aizawl last month," a Mizoram home department official told reporters in Aizawl.
"It was decided in the meeting to resume the repatriation before the counting of votes of the Lok Sabha election May 16," he said.
He said the central government has sanctioned Rs.7.87 crore as financial assistance to the repatriated refugees.
"An adequate amount of food grain has been stored to provide free rations to the repatriated tribal refugees for one year," the official added.
The Election Commission last month made arrangements for the refugees in six of the seven Tripura relief camps to cast postal ballots.
The poll panel decision aggrieved six NGOs and students' groups and they called for a three-day shutdown and a poll boycott in Mizoram.
Of the over 36,000 Reang tribal refugees in Tripura, 11,500 were on electoral rolls and 71 percent of them voted through postal ballot.
The Election Commission had deferred the April 9 Lok Sabha polling in Mizoram to April 11 due to the stir.