Northeast India: Displaced Brus Set to Return to Mizoram


Displaced Brus from Mizoram will return to their places this week. The development was made possible following the assurance from the Union government of India.

Now taking refugee in neighboruing Tripura, the recently displaced Bru families will join the repatriation process on May 21. Both Mizoram and Tripura are two tiny Northeast Indian States bordering Burma and Bangladesh. “The first phase of the repatriation of the Brus displaced in November 2009 will start from Tripura on 21 May 2010 and will complete on 26 May 2010 provided the Mizoram government organizes the transport facilities.

In the first phase, a total of 210 Bru families have been identified for repatriation,” said in a statement issued by Asian Centre for Human Rights, which mediated with the concerned parties in the recent past.

The repatriation was supposed to take place on May 11 but it was not materialized as the State government of Mizoram failed to provide transportation facilities to the beneficiaries.

Now the transportation facilities have been arranged by the Mizoram government with the assistance from the State government of Tripura, informed the New Delhi based rights group. Speaking to this writer Suhas Chakma, director of Asian Centre for Human Rights sated, “The repatriation is taking place after written assurances were given by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India about rehabilitation and security of the returnee Brus through the Asian Centre for Human Rights.

The Bru Coordination Committee submitted its demands for rehabilitation of the newly arrived Brus through the ACHR.” The Union Home Ministry in a written communication to the ACHR informed that it had sanctioned grants-in-aid of Rs. 2.43 crore to the Mizoram government for meeting expenditure on repatriation and rehabilitation of Bru families who had fled to Tripura in November, 2009.

This fund would be utilized by the Mizoram government for providing housing assistance, free ration for a period of 9 months and other relevant expenditures. “Apart from these, assistance include cost of preparation of land for Jhum cultivation to Bru families who did not flee to Tripura, household kits and implements and for meeting cost of construction of barracks, sentry posts etc for State Armed Police/IR Bn who would be deployed in relevant areas for facilitating peaceful repatriation and rehabilitation of Bru migrants,” Chakma added. He also opined that the first phase of repatriation should build necessary confidence to start the stalled dialogue for resolving the disputes surrounding the Brus who fled in 1997.

The ACHR encourages both the Mizoram government and the refugee leaders (Bru Coordination Committee) to avail the opportunity arising out of this first phase of repatriation process to find a permanent solution to the Bru crisis.

Mentionable that over 35,000 Brus displaced from Mizoram since 1997 are now taking shelter in six makeshift camps under Kanchanpur sub-division of Tripura. In November 2009, fresh displacement of about 5,000 Brus took place and many of them fled to Tripura.

The ACHR immediately undertook a Fact Finding Mission at the invitation of the Mizoram government and pursued the issue strongly. Later in February 2010, the Union Home Ministry had requested the rights body to use its good offices to convince the Bru IDPs to return to Mizoram.

Nava Thakuria is a Guwahati (Northeast India) based journalist, who contributes to NewsBlaze and various media outlets throughout the world.