Chidambaram urges Brus tribal refugees to return to Mizoram

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  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    We tend to forget that the situation in NE in some cases is worse than J&K. The AFSPA was applied here in the 1960s as compared to 1990 in J&K.

    Chidambaram urges Brus to return to Mizoram - The Times of India

    AGARTALA: On Saturday, hope and anticipation were palpable in the air at the displaced Reangs' camp near Naisinghpara in Kanchanpur subdivision of North Tripura as Union home minister P Chidambaram visited the camp to ensure their safe repatriation to their home in Mizoram.

    "Chidambaram's visit to Tripura specifically for Reang repatriation has rekindled our hope that some effective and everlasting solution to the standoff will be arrived at," said a senior official from North Tripura.

    And the Union home minister did not disappoint. Chidambaram, who arrived in Agartala in a BSF flight at 12.20 pm and flew directly to Naisinghpara in a BSF chopper, asked the displaced Reangs, also known as Brus, to return to their home in Mizoram.

    He met the Reang leaders currently sheltered in six camps in North Tripura and said the Centre has made all efforts to ensure their safety and rehabilitation when they go back to Mizoram. PC informed that DoNER has already been given the go ahead to ensure the rehabilitation package, which would take care of almost all aspects, including security, shelter, food, health, education, electricity etc. Financial assistance of about Rs 30 crore has already been sanctioned and more would be done as and when necessary.

    "But first you have to return to Mizoram. Then whatever is required would be put in place," Chidambaram told the Reang leaders. "So far, 790 Reang families had already gone back to Mizoram and 5,900 more families will also return to home."

    The home minister discussed the displaced Reangs' repatriation with senior officials of Tripura and Mizoram government at a meeting held at Gachhirampara Community hall in Kanchanpur. Tripura chief secretary S K Panda, Mizoram chief secretary Vanhela Pachuau, Tripura IG K Nagraj, IG B K Roy, DM North Tripura Prashanth Kumar, SP B K Nag, Mizoram SP (SB) C Laldina are the senior officials who participated in the meeting.

    Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF), an organization of the camp inmates, discussed with the home minister their demands for repatriation. But there were differences of opinions about the pre-conditions of the repatriation. While many felt that if the Centre and Mizoram governments could ensure them land, security and financial assistance, they would be happy to return; some, however, stuck to their old demand for regional autonomy in Mizoram.

    Ramkrishna Reang, a teacher at a camp school, said the Reangs would not budge from their demand for regional autonomy as without a self-governing body their very existence in Mizoram would be at stake. "We want to get back to our homeland but for this we need security, land and financial assistance" said a Reang leader who identified himself as Francis.

    Official sources indicated that Mizoram government had agreed to take back the Reangs and ensure security and other rehabilitation packages for them with Centre's help.

    In Agartala, the home minister said he would visit Aizwal next month to review the repatriation and rehabilitation of the Reangs. "I may come once again to Tripura for this," he added.

    On Friday, a tripartite meeting of the Centre and the Tripura and Mizoram governments in Agartala decided to settle some issues before the high profile visit. The Centre was represented by joint secretary to home S Singh. The meeting dwelt extensively on the modalities and issues to be discussed and resolved meaningfully during Chidambaram's visit to the camps.

    The community was displaced from their homes in Mizoram 14 years ago when a series of communal riots between the Reangs and the Mizos racked areas adjoining North Tripura district on the night of 15-16 October 1997. Thousands of Reangs then fled to Kanchanpur subdivision and under the Tripura government were sheltered in six camps. At present, there are 36,663 Reangs in Tripura.

    For the last 14 years, several talks involving the Mizoram, Tripura and central governments and the Reangs failed to resolve the impasse over their repatriation to Mizoram continued as the internally displaced Brus languished in the camps and lived a wretched life. Tripura government and the displaced Reangs have always said that the Mizoram government was reluctant to take back these people.
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Where is the issue of AFSPA here?

    Have you some agenda for bringing in AFSPA which is irrelevant to the issue?

    The majority of the Reang belong to the Vaishnav school of Hinduism and claim Kshatriya status. A growing number of Christians, almost all of them Baptists, exists in both Tripura and Mizoram. In 1943, the Reang were subjected to forced conversions during the rebellion by Ratanmani Noatia. At the end of 20th century, they were again subjected to religious violence in Mizoram by the Baptists.

    It is problem of Reangs and the Baptist Christian Mizoram.

    It has nothing to do with AFSPA or any rebellion or insurgency.

    Your allusion to AFSPA is agenda driven and disingenuous!

    It appears that you cut and posted the news without even reading.

    If you had read it, you would know the reason and would not have blamed the issue on AFSPA!

    Please post with responsibility. More so, since your posts are normally very thought provoking.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
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  4. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Relax Ray,

    I didn't have any special agenda and the only reason why I mentioned AFSPA was to highlight how much longer the NE has been a conflict zone. J&K acceded to India and that ascension was ratified by the elected assembly by universal franchise of its people of that time. The only state to join India this way I might add.

    We didn't have any major problems until the 1990s when AFSPA was extended to J&K. Otherwise there was no need for it there. In the NE, it has been in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura since 1958. Hence my mentioning that we tend to forget that the NE has been a conflict zone for much longer than J&K. While J&K gets all the media attention, NE is neglected.

    There is no religion involved here. Hindus, Muslims or Christians all are Indians and certainly I personally would like the conflicts resolved so that we don't even need AFSPA anymore. Again, the reason why I mentioned AFSPA was to highlight how less we focus on NE and how much more time is given to J&K issues even though the conflict has been there for much longer
     
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  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    First of all AFSPA is not the issue of internecine problems in the NE.

    Therefore, to use it in an irrelevant manner does appear irresponsible and agenda driven.

    The problem of the NE is its tribal structure where in an artificial boundary of a State, and that is essential to maintain it economic and political viability, is the home to many tribes and their sub sects, each vying for its place in the sun and struggling amongst themselves.

    Adding to the problem are the Baptist Mission and the Luthereans, who are trying to give the warring tribes and sub tribes a homogeneous structure based on religion. A noble attempt but totally without understanding the roots.

    Because of the churns of various interests, foreign powers are also putting their finger in the pie and thus requiring the Army to be deployed.

    Those who have no idea of insurgency and how it operates and foments, love to bring in AFSPA to show how concerned they are, when they are not. None even visit the NE, but shed crocodile tears from their air conditioned comfort.

    Likewise, you to seem to have joined the bandwagon and bringing in the AFSPA into a purely tribal war which has nothing to do with the Army or the AFSPA.

    While you may have genuine concern that the NE is low-keyed compared to J&K, I am sure you could have amplified your grief with relevance rather than drag in something totally irrelevant like the AFSPA and then let the thread viatiate into not talking about the issue but going into the pros and cons of the AFSPA and how things are getting out of hand and thereby inflaming.

    Just to refresh your mind, this is all you posted before posting the article of the Brus/ Reangs and the Mizos

    Now that you have mentioned, do let us know how the AFSPA is affecting NE?

    Is there a better way to solve it?

    And how does the Reang and the Mizo issue be solved in a State like Mizoramk where there is no AFSPA.

    Does it not appear that there is an agenda where one brings out the Reang issue with Mizos, in a State (Mizoram) where there is no AFSPA in place and then show concern that NE is ignored compared to J&K?

    Where is the connection of the new report with AFSPA, Renags, Mizos, NE and J&K?

    Your post in question does not even give the connection except for the AFSPA!
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
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  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    You may like to hone your knowledge about J&K and why the issue of AFSPA came into force in J&K.
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    NE has a tribal culture.

    One has to visit the NE to understand their life and their ways.

    One has to understand the aspiration of each tribe, the sub tribe and the incongruity of the common physical boundaries drawn for administrative ease.

    The Army and the AFSPA are not the reasons for all the issues that surface in the NE.

    We should be educated before being alarmists!
     
  8. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    Actually there IS religion involved here.

    The Reangs are mostly Hindus and they have been targetted by the terrorist groups supported by the Baptists and have been threatened to either convert or face the bullet. Perhaps India is the only country in the world where the majority community still lives under the fear of "sword" from minority communities and does not have the guts to deal with it.

    ...The MNF was much more serious about its Christian identity and much more particular about fostering religiosity. Senior leaders such as Zoramthanga, then MNF vice president (and now chief minister of Mizoram state), personally conducted church services in the rebel camps...

    ...The Congress took advantage and proclaimed in its election manifesto its commitment to promote “Christian Socialism” in Mizoram...


    .....The NLFT, in keeping with its stated objective of turning Tripura into “the land of Christ,” has also issued fiats to tribal communities to convert to Christianity as a whole.That has provoked the predominantly animist Reangs and the Hindu Jamatia tribesmen to resist....

    http://www.apcss.org/Publications/Edited%20Volumes/ReligiousRadicalism/PagesfromReligiousRadicalismandSecurityinSouthAsiach10.pdf
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2012
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  9. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    @Ray

    My only reason as I stated in my previous post about AFSPA was to highlight that NE is an area of concern. Not balme AFSPA for the conflict in the North East. You are needlessly jumping to conclusions. I did not mentioned AFSPA because of HR issues but the internal security situation that necessitated the need to have AFSPA there. We focus on Maoists violence in the mainland or terrorism which are more recent and don't focus as much on the NE situation. AFSPA was brought in because the local law enforcement agencies could not handle the situation. And the date of AFSPA being applied indicates that NE has been a conflict issue for us since the 1960s.
    In J&K, AFSPA was not brought in because until 1989, the situation no matter how bad it was, never required AFSPA powers in the state. On the other hand, NE states had such a bad law and order situation that it needed the act since the 1960s.

    If I have to make a comment on AFSPA, I won't be afraid to make it and I don't need to be so indirect about it.
    My own view on AFSPA is that it doesn't allow black sheep in the army to commit HR violations and hence sully the name of the institution.The recent SC judgement and CBI's affidavit has clarified as well. AFSPA can stay in conflict areas as the SC directives are to be followed. But eventually, we have to work towards normalization and conflict resolution which doesn't require military laws to be applied in these region. That should be the eventual end goal no matter how long it takes.
    No sanction needed under AFSPA for army men's prosecution: CBI - India - DNA
    Cannot invoke AFSPA in rape, murder: SC to Army - Indian Express


    @Karthic Sri
    What I was referring to in my post that you quoted was that my bringing up the AFSPA issue was part of some religious reason or some reason to pin AFSPA for the conflict situation in NE. It was not.

    Now coming to your specific point, religion may be one aspect of the conflict but certainly not the only one. In the news report itself, the Reangs have both Hindu and Christian reps who are refugees in the camps (Ramakrishna and Francis) both who are afraid of being domineered by the Mizos. There are also Maoists groups active. Other militant groups have made bases Buddhist Bhutan and Myanmar at different points in time. With the ISI and China ofcourse lending a helping hand with the help of Bangladesh. The tribal identity and clashes, land grabs by the dominant ethnic group the Mizos and with religion playing an important role but not the only role.

    The pdf documented you linked gives a pretty good overview of the points although dated as it was written in 2003 from what I can see. But even in that document, you can see that he discussed the ethnic and ideological like marxism as main causes of conflict other than religion.

    In any case, the violence levels have come down drastically in the NE and the fact that some Reangs have made their way (700+ families according to the report) is showing signs going back to normalcy. Communal riots in other parts of India also takes many years to heal and both the state Mizoram govt. and Centre should play an active role to resettle them in their native lands. Just as we would expect the state and central govt. to do in any other case of communal riots.
     

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