Bru refugees: Parliamentary panel highlights low repatriation numbers
The refugees have asked the home ministry to release subsistence allowances that have been held back since November.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has expressed concern over only 48 of 5,407 Bru refugee families living in makeshift camps in Tripura being repatriated to Mizoram, The New Indian Express reported on Monday. Last week, the refugees wrote to the Ministry of External Affairs and sought its intervention in the suspension of subsistence allowances since November, reports said.
The panel highlighted the low numbers in its report to the Rajya Sabha but appreciated the increase in monetary assistance.
The central rehabilitation package granted to the refugees living in Tripura includes Rs 5 per day to each adult migrant, Rs 2.5 to each minor, 600 grams of rice to each adult on a daily basis, three soaps in a year, one pair of slippers every year and a mosquito net every three years, The Indian Express reported.
In their letter to the ministry, the refugees said that while the Centre had in October extended the package provisions until March 2019, they had not received allowances since November last year, The Indian Express reported.
In 1997, the murder of a Mizo forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram’s Mamit district allegedly by Bru militants led to a violent backlash against the community, forcing about 37,000 people to flee to neighbouring Tripura.
In July 2018, the Mizoram and Tripura governments, the Centre and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum agreed that 5,407 families, comprising 32,876 people, staying in temporary camps in Tripura would be repatriated to Mizoram before September 30, 2018. The repatriation process started on August 25 and concluded on September 25.
The parliamentary committee is headed by former Union home minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. It called on the Centre to expedite the repatriation process by initiating dialogue with stakeholders “for peaceful assimilation of the Brus in Mizoram”.
The panel also rebuked the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for not replying to its suggestion to review the “poor living conditions in the six relief camps” in Tripura. “The Ministry of Home Affairs has also not provided the details of action taken by government or the actions which have been contemplated by the government, for improving the living conditions,” the panel reported.