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3,341 Bru refugees return to Mizoram

 AIZAWL, May 15 – At least 3,341 Bru refugees belonging to 643 families have returned to Mizoram from relief camps in Tripura since November last year, official sources said.

 The repatriated refugees – 2,427 adults and 914 children below 12 years – were mainly resettled in different villages on the Mizoram-Tripura border district of Mamit.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is scheduled to visit Mizoram on May 18 to oversee progress of the repatriation process.

During his visit here on May 25 last year, Chidambaram had urged Bru leaders to ensure that all the refugees return to Mizoram before the end of the year and his Ministry later announced that all the six relief camps in North Tripura would be closed by March 2011 and all the facilities provided to them including free ration would be withdrawn simultaneously.

However, the relief camps were yet to be closed apparently due to the fact that many refugees remain in the camps. More than 3,000 houses inside the largest Naisingpara relief camp were gutted by a fire killing 17 people on March 19, sources said.

Sources said the repatriation process was going on at a snail’s pace due to perpetual obstruction by anti-repatriation elements among the refugees who received massive benefits from the assistance given to the refugees.

Meanwhile, major NGOs in Mizoram would demand adequate compensation and rehabilitation for 80 Mizo families who were displaced after being driven out by Bru militants from Sachan range in Tripura during late 1990s, to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram when he visits the State on Tuesday, a leader of the NGOs said.

“We would demand that the ongoing Bru refugee repatriation should be stalled until and unless the displaced Mizo families were given rehabilitation and resettlement package,” he said. – PTI

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