Identification of bona fide Bru refugees from Mizoram in Tripura was disrupted after several Brus at Naisingpara in North Tripura district reportedly protest against the officials on Saturday last.
Reports reaching here said that identification and on the spot survey were successfully held at Hamsapur, Kaskau and Khakchang refugee camps; Brus refugees languishing in these camps were cooperative until an untoward incident happened at Naisingpara camp.
The Brus who had left Mizoram in 1997 have been sheltering in North Tripura districts in makeshift camps and the Mizoram government and ministry of home affairs have tried several times to repatriate these Brus. About 200 families are already repatriated but the majority of the refugees are still settling in the camps. Under the directions of the ministry, Mizoram government has made ten attempts to repatriate the Brus during the last decade.
The identification camp is being led by the special secretary of home affairs ministry Mahesh Kumar Singla.
“Public meetings were organized in the camps and most of the Brus settling here wanted to come back, the exact reason of the disturbance cannot be ascertained,” sources said.
Reports said that the annoyed Brus pelted stones at the vehicle of Mizoram Bru Coordination Committee chairman Elvis Chorkhy, the Tripura Police who were on security detail were able to maintain law and order and nothing untoward incident followed.
The plan was to hold another public meeting at Hazachera camp, but the possibility of untoward incident halted the official party and Mahesh Kumar Singla decided to call off the inspection.
In 1997 some Bru miscreants killed a Mizo wildlife game watcher at Persang village in the western Mamit district of Mizoram, fearing an ethnic backlash the Brus left Mizoram and have settled there since.
Several batches of the refugees were repatriated in 2006 but the majorities of them are hesitant to abide by the arrangements of Mizoram government and refused repatriation. The refugees welfare body demanded new group settlements for the refugees while the state administration charted the refugees be resettled at the same settlements prior to their exodus.
Eight attempts made by the Mizoram government to resettle the refugees failed due to the Bru’s demand for group settlements. Larger NGOs of the state felt that group re-settlements of the refugees would harm the political geography of the state.
According to home department sources, this attempt to repatriate the Bru refugees was the eighth time and would be the last attempt. The chief minister of the state Lal Thanhawla too, said several attempts have been made to repatriate these refugees and had warned them that this would be the last attempt to repatriate them.