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Chances bright for refugees’ return to Mizoram
Published on 6 Jan. 2011 11:57 PM IST
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The 14-year-old deadlock over the repatriation of 41,600 Reang tribal refugees from Tripura to Mizoram seems to be over after the central government agreed to increase the economic package for the home-bound immigrants.
The union home ministry’s decision follows mediation by New Delhi-based rights group Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) between the central government, pro and anti-repatriation factions of the displaced people and the Mizoram government.
‘The ministry’s joint secretary (Northeast) R.R. Jha in a letter to the Asian Centre for Human Rights yesterday (Wednesday) communicated the centre’s decision to broaden the economic package for the returnees (home bound refugees),’ Asian Centre for Human Rights director Suhas Chakma told IANS on phone from New Delhi.
Apart from Rs.80,000 cash assistance to each refugee family and free ration for one year, the ministry will support self-employment schemes to be initiated by the Reang tribals.
A special development project for the western region of Mizoram where the Reang refugees are to be resettled is also under consideration of the Mizoram government and the development of north eastern region (DoNER) ministry, Chakma quoted the home ministry letter as saying.
Over 41,600 Reang tribals have been living in six camps in north Tripura’s Kanchanpur sub-division since 1997. They fled western Mizoram after ethnic clashes with the majority Mizos following the killing of a Mizo forest official.
An Asian Centre for Human Rights statement issued from New Delhi said: ‘Under the agreement signed by the leaders of all refugee factions, the refugees have agreed to return to their villages in western Mizoram.’
A Mizoram home ministry official said in Aizawl that state Chief Secretary Pu Van Hela Pachuau held a meeting in the national capital Wednesday to discuss resumption of the repatriation of refugees at the earliest.
The Tripura government has also welcomed the latest development.
‘We are always ready to provide logistical help to the Mizoram government to undertake the repatriation process,’ Kanchanpur sub-divisional magistrate Dilip Chakma told reporte
‘If repatriation of the refugees, locally called ‘Bru’, is completed, it will constitute the largest repatriation of displaced people in the world facilitated by an NGO,’ Suhas Chakma claimed in his statement.
The repatriation of refugees from North Tripura to western Mizoram began Nov 3.
Hundreds of unwilling refugees put up a blockade on the Tripura-Mizoram highway Nov 19, protesting non-settlement of their eight-point demands, including signing of a four-partite agreement between the central, Tripura and Mizoram governments and refugee leade
In view of the protest, the Mizoram government instantly suspended the repatriation process.
In April 2005, the Mizoram government and the militant Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) signed an agreement after 13 rounds of talks to solve the decades-old ethnic crisis.
This led to the surrender of about 1,040 Bru National Liberation Front and Bru Liberation Front of Mizoram (BLFM) militants. Both the rebel outfits have been fighting for setting up an autonomous council for the Reangs.

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