Mizoram govt meets unhappy Bru leaders

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Aizawl, Nov 21 (UNI) The Mizoram government today called on aggrieved leaders of the surrendered Bru National Liberation Front(BNLF) for a meeting to sort out the Bru issue.

This came after the Brus had threatened to move Supreme Court against the Mizoram government's ''failure'' to repatriate them.

So far, as rehabilitation was concerned, the Centre had sanctioned Rs 33,000 for each surrendered Bru militant, which the Mizoram government handed over to them on April 11 last.

''However, when it comes to repatriation, there are certain formalities, as a result of which, it (repatriation) could not be carried out as expeditious as desired,'' Mizoram Home Secretary C Ropianga today told UNI, a few minutes after the meeting occurred at his office here.

The home secretary said the first step of the process is identification of genuine Brus of Mizoram to be taken back as it had been alleged that hundreds of Tripura's Brus have mingled with the 'displaced' Brus in the refugee camps in Tripura looking for a chance to migrate to Mizoram. There are over 33,000 'displaced' Brus in Tripura camps.

The BNLF, fighting for separate autonomous district council in western Mizoram, has signed an MoU with the central and the state governments in April 2005, leading to the surrender of about 1,040 BNLF militants.

The MoU was signed with assurance that more than 33,000 Reangs (locally referred to as 'Brus') tribal refugees living in six camps in north Tripura since October 1997 after they fled Mizoram following ethnic clashes with the majority Mizos, would be rehabilitated in their ancestral state of Mizoram.

The surrendered rebels and their families were currently staying in four new villages in western Mizoram.

''We made it very clear to the Bru leaders that until and unless identification is conducted, their repatriation cannot be carried out,'' Ropianga said, adding that the Bru leaders also agreed on the identification at their Tripura camps, provided advanced notice. The meeting also aimed at pacifying the Brus on their intention to seek the apex court's intervention, the home secretary said, and hinted that the Brus agreed to give a second thought.

The surrendered Bru rebels felt that their rehabilitation fund was too meagre, and demanded more from the Centre. They also demanded the same treatment given to Kashmiri pundits because they (the Brus) are also Indians, Ropianga added.

The home secretary assured that the state government is taking utmost efforts to repatriate Mizoram's Brus as early as possible.

UNI

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