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Rajnath Singh to visit Manipur, Tripura on Saturday

By Ians English

Agartala, Feb 11: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Manipur and Tripura on Saturday to review the law and order situation and assess the repatriation of tribal refugees, sheltered in Tripura for more than 17 years, an official said here Wednesday.

"The union home minister will visit Manipur Saturday and hold a series of meetings with Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and senior security officials in Imphal to review the situation in the militancy ravaged state," an official of Tripura government said.

Rajnath Singh

From Imphal, the home minister will then arrive in Tripura and visit some Border Security Force posts.

"He will then meet (Tripura Chief Minister) Manik Sarkar here and (Mizoram Chief Minister) Lal Thanhawla to chalk out a plan to repatriate the tribal refugees to Mizoram," the official said.

Singh may also visit the refugee camps in Kanchanpur in northern Tripura to persuade the refugees to go back to their villages in western Mizoram.

About 32,000 Reang tribals, locally called "Bru", are staying in seven camps in northern Tripura since October 1997 after they fled their villages in western Mizoram following ethnic troubles after the killing of a Mizo forest official.

Union Home Ministry's Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh Jan 30 held a meeting in New Delhi with Tripura and Mizoram officials and discussed the repatriation of Mizoram's tribal refugees.

Tripura government has been asking both Mizoram and the union home ministry to repatriate the tribal refugees to their homes in Mizoram.

"A serious socio-economic problem has cropped up due to the long stay of the refugees in Tripura," the official added.


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