File photo of Bru refugees in Tripura

The Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) on Thursday said the Bru refugees would not return to their homeland from Tripura if permanent rehabilitation and development package is not announced.

“The refugees are willing to go back to their villages in Mizoram. But the Mizoram government is too rigid to solve our basic issues permanently resulting in the failure of previous repatriation process,” MBDPF general secretary Bruno Msha said.

He said at the moment they are not insisting on their original demands.

“Now we the Dampa Tiger Reserve Sanctuary de-reserved in Mizoram so that tribal refugees are rehabilitated there,” he said.

Msha said their second demand is a development package by the Union DoNER and Tribal Affairs Ministries for long-lasting and all-round development of the backward Reangs.

Over 35,000 Reang (Bru) tribal refugees including women and children have been sheltered in seven relief camps since October 1997 after they fled their villages in western Mizoram in the wake of communal tension.

Earlier this month, the government had stopped supplying food grains and relief materials ostensibly to force them to return their villages in Mizoram.

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