Bru refugees force leader to withdraw signature from tripartite agreement
Agartala, July 17: A group of Bru refugees in Tripura forced the leader of their association to withdraw his signature from a tripartite agreement inked earlier this month on the package they would get for returning to their home state Mizoram, the police said.
The refugees were unhappy with the outcome of the agreement and demanding a better deal, gheraoed leaders of the Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF) for around four hours and ransacked its office, a leader of the MBDPF said.
"A group of around 500 inmates of Naisingpara relief camp gheraoed MBDPF president A Sawibunga at around 12 noon and forced him to withdraw his signature in writing from the agreement," Kanchanpur SDPO Kiran Kumar said.
Sawibunga told PTI over phone from Naisingpara that he had to sign on a note saying he was withdrawing his signature from the July 3 agreement.
He submitted the note to the sub-divisional officer (Civil) of Kanchanpur in North Tripura district.
Over 32,000 Bru refugees were currently living in six camps in Kanchanpur sub-division of Tripura. The Brus fled from neighbouring Mizoram in 1997 following an unrest and various efforts have been made since then to repatriate them.
The rehabilitation package offered in repatriation deal said each refugee family would be given a financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh. The money would be deposited in the name of each refugee family head and would be handed over to them after 3 years of stay in Mizoram.
Besides the Centre and the governments of Mizoram and Tripura, the pact was also signed by Sawibunga on July 3.
MBDPF secretary Bruno Msha had said the next day that they were "satisfied" with the repatriation package but "the financial package offered in the deal might not be sufficient".
Msha said those who gheraoed them from around 12 noon to 3.45 pm also ransacked the MBDPF office at Naisingpara relief camp.
North Tripura District Magistrate Sajal Gupta said he is meeting Ministry of Home Affairs Adviser (Bru) Mahesh Kumar Singla on the issue.
Singla is on a visit to the camps.
Thousands of Brus had been in the Tripura relief camps since late 1997 in the wake of a communal tension triggered by the murder of a forest guard inside the Dampa Tiger Reserve on October 21, 1997 by Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) militants.
The first attempt to repatriate them in 2009 failed and triggered another wave of exodus after the killing of a youth three days before the commencement of the repatriation process.
Though some Bru families had returned to Mizoram during a number of repatriation processes and on their own, many of them refused to leave Tripura.