Repeated attempts by the Union Home Ministry and the Mizoram Government to repatriate the Bru refugees settling in North Tripura district not only failed but also has triggered a new and daunting demand for Bru autonomous district council in western Mizoram.
The State Government has called back all the officials who were sent to channel the repatriation process, while only three families were repatriated in the attempt to repatriate more than 300 families settling in six relief camps in North Tripura district.
In another turn of events, the Brus made several new set of demands to the Union Home Ministry.
A newly formed Bru organization called Mizoam Bru Indigenous Democratic Movement (MBIDM) has served a memorandum to the Prime Minister to create an autonomous district council for the Brus settling in India.
“Yes, we demand that a new autonomous district council for the Brus be formed before repatriation, but no reply yet,” a source from the relief camp in Tripura said.
Sources from the organization also said that if the autonomous district council is not given, the Brus, at the least, demands cluster resettlement and a special development package.
The largest and the most powerful organization of the Brus at the moment, the Mizoram Bru Displaced People Forum (MBDPF) has stated that demand for creating autonomous district council made by the MBIDM and that the forum was not aware of it.
“The organization has a different approach, the MBDPF has its own sets of demands for any repatriation, autonomous district council is not one of them,” Bruno Mesha, general secretary of the MBDPF said.
He added that the total population of the Brus at the different camps should have already crossed one lakh.
“A total of 85,000 was the population in the last head count in 1997,” he said.