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Mizoram begins taking back tribal refugees from Tripura
Published on 21 May. 2010 11:31 PM IST
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On the union home ministry’s advice, Mizoram Friday started taking back around 1,000 tribal refugees from relief camps in Tripura where they have been living since November last year after fleeing their state following ethnic clashes. However, the fate of more than 30,000 refugees who fled Mizoram 13 years ago hangs in the balance.
“The much-awaited repatriation of tribal refugees from Tripura to Mizoram has begun and the authorities have arranged transport and security for them,” refugee leader Elvis Chorkhy told reporters. He said that 32 Mizoram government officials accompanied by their Tripura counterparts are supervising the repatriation from Tripura relief camps to Mamit district in western Mizoram.
North Tripura’s Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate Dilip Chakma held meetings with Mizoram government officials. He told journalists later: “Around 1,000 tribal refugees would be repatriated in five batches until May 26. We are providing the necessary logistical support to Mizoram government officials to conduct the long-awaited repatriation.” Chorkhy, who is also president of the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), said: “We shall observe the repatriation and subsequent resettlement of the tribal refugees in their villages and then we shall decide the repatriation of the remaining evacuees.”
Since 1997, around 32,000 Reang tribal refugees have taken shelter in six camps in north Tripura, adjacent to Mizoram. They fled western Mizoram after ethnic clashes with the majority Mizos over the killing of a Mizo forest official.
The refugees’ repatriation from Tripura to Mizoram was stopped in November last year when a mob in western Mizoram burnt down around 700 tribal houses after an 18-year-old Mizo youth was shot dead by unidentified miscreants. Following the arson and violence, about 5,500 displaced Reang tribals took shelter afresh in adjacent north Tripura.
The New Delhi-based rights group Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) has been pressurising the union home ministry to ask the Mizoram government to take back the refugees at the earliest to start life anew.
“The union home ministry in a letter to the ACHR has informed that it had sanctioned grants-in-aid of Rs.24,300,000 to the Mizoram government for meeting expenditure on repatriation and rehabilitation of the tribal refugees,” ACHR director Suhas Chakma said in a statement.
The statement quoting the union home ministry’s letter said the Mizoram government would also provide house construction assistance of Rs.38,500 per tribal family, free rations to the displaced tribals for a period of 9 months, adequate security and financial assistance for their ‘jhum’ cultivation (slash and burn method of cultivation).

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