AGARTALA, Oct 16 - Taking a serious view of the defiant attitude of Bru refugee leaders towards the latest repatriation process, a four-member team of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) headed by Special Secretary Dr AP Maheshwari, held a meeting with representatives of refugees and other stakeholders here today to expedite the ongoing exercise.
While leaders of the Mizoram Bru Displaced People�s Forum highlighted their stand on the repatriation process, the MHA officials reiterated the Central Government�s commitment to early completion of repatriation.
Soon after the meeting, a refugee leader alleged that the Central Government has not been paying heed to the problem of the Bru refugees sheltered in 10 relief camps in Tripura.
�The arrangement which has been made for the Bru people is not acceptable. We have demanded formation of an autonomous district council for the Bru people in Mizoram. But the MHA said the demand would be considered only after the return of Bru refugees to their homeland,� he told media persons.
RK Pandey, Deputy Secretary (NE) of the MHA, said the meeting was held with representatives of the refugees on their concerns and problems. �Our approach is very clear that they must go back to their homeland and the Centre will do the best that can be done for the Bru people. We told them there would be a special scheme to improve the socio-economic condition of the Bru people after their safe return. Most importantly, the resettlement scheme is ready. The Government of India does not want to continue the refugee camps in Tripura,� he said.
On being asked about the demand for formation of an autonomous council, Pandey said: �Let them go to Mizoram and be a part of the democratic process. The Centre will do whatever is possible under the constitutional provisions.�
It appears that the meeting could not make much headway as the refugee leaders appeared defiant to the MHA�s appeal for early repatriation to Mizoram. Altogether 408 inmates of 88 Bru families have repatriated to Mizoram since October 3.