22 October, 2020

Exodus To Despair

With their dream of autonomy in tatters, Mizoram's Reangs flee to neighbouring Tripura only to languish in camps

Exodus To Despair

KANCHANPUR and Kokrajhar are some 1,000 km apart. But the similarities between the plight of the Reang refugees in North Tripura and Santhals in lower Assam's Kokrajhar district are striking. Hordes of bedraggled tribals, tired and undernourished, housed in makeshift camps, struggling for one square meal a day. Both communities are in a minority in their respective areas. Both have been rendered homeless because, for political reasons, the majority tribe does not want them around. Both have suffered arson and violent attacks followed by deaths because of disease and starvation. The only difference is that the Santhals, over two lakh of them, were victims of an ethnic riot against the Bodos in May 1996, while the Reangs in Mizoram have been at the receiving end of a schizophrenic violence since October 1997.

Barely had the Tripura government got over the repatriation of 50,000 Chakmas back to Bangladesh when a fresh crisis was on its hand. This time, it was Reang tribals from neighbouring Mizoram arriving in large numbers, alleging...



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