AIZAWL, Aug 10 (Newmai): Mizoram chief minister, Lal Thanhawla on Friday extended support to the demand of the repatriated Bru families in Mizoram for equal repatriation package.
Addressing a ‘political session’ of the Congress party workers at Congress Bhavan here on Friday, Lal Thanhawla said he had raised the issue before Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh during a meeting in New Delhi on July 3.
“I had told the Union Home Minister that it would not be fair to leave out those who paid heed to the government and returned to Mizoram some years back and to deprive them of better package which will be received by the Bru families in Tripura who would be repatriated soon as deprivation of equal benefit can cause dissension and hostility among the Bru tribals,” Lal Thanhawla said. He also said that the Union Home minister had told him that the upcoming repatriation would be carried out as per planned because the agreement has been already reached. He added that the Union Home minister had also promised him to consider the matter and hence take necessary action.
“I extend support to the Mizoram Bru demand for equal rehabilitation package as they too also deserve it,” Lal Thanhawla said. He then slammed the Bru families in Tripura for refusing to return to Mizoram despite better repatriation package offer.
Lal Thanhawla alleged that the Bru families were objected to return to Mizoram by their leaders “who were gaining personal benefits” out of assistance from the Centre. He further alleged that the Bru leaders were running business out of the assistance received from the Centre.
According to the chief minister, his government had made repeated appeals to the Bru tribals to return to Mizoram. He added that he had personally requested the Bru families not to flee Mizoram due to ethnic tension in 1997. Lal Thanhawla also alleged that the Bru families were forced by the erstwhile underground Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) to flee their homes.
As per the quadripartite agreement between the Centre, the governments of Tripura and Mizoram and Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), an apex body of displaced Bru families in Tripura, the Bru families in Tripura when return to Mizoram would receive financial aid of Rs 4 lakh each which will be deposited to their saving accounts after three years. Besides, the Bru families will also be provided housing assistance to the tune of Rs 1.50 lakh each, monthly allowance of Rs 5,000 for two years and free ration for the same period.
Meanwhile, the “Equal Package Demand Committee (EPDC)” formed by the already repatriated Bru families in Mizoram under the leadership of former president of Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), Elvis Chorky had submitted a memorandum to the Centre, demanding uniform package. The committee also threatened to boycott the upcoming repatriation if the Centre fails to meet its demand before August 14. Chorkhy said that about 1,712 Bru families who have been repatriated to Mizoram received one time package of only Rs 80,000 each and free ration for a period of one year. He claimed that they deserve equal rehabilitation package along with other families, who would be repatriated soon, because they first returned to their homes.
The Mizoram government is ready to begin the repatriation process which is scheduled to take off on August 14. The multi-phases repatriation is scheduled to be completed by September 10.