The Union Government would develop the Northeastern region in 10 years if insurgency comes to an end, said Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Agartala on Saturday. He said insurgency remains a hurdle in restoring peace and developing the area, and appealed underground groups to shun violence.
Mr Singh and his deputy Kiren Rijiju were on a brief visit to Tripura primarily to review repatriation of Reang refugees stranded in Kanchanpur of north Tripura for past 18 years, but also flew to visit a border area with Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts at remote Khantlang. The Ministers assessed security and deployment of the BSF in the area where extremists of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) recently stepped up activities.
Back from Khantlang, Mr. Singh and Mr. Rijiju met leaders of 32,000 Reang or Bru refugees housed in seven camps in Kanchanpur and discussed complete repatriation to Mizoram. The refugee leaders submitted a memorandum in which they complained of threat to security and identity to minority tribe people in Mizoram.
Mr Singh later discussed the issue with Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and senior Union Home Ministry officials. Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla was scheduled to attend the meeting but he skipped.
“Bru (Reang) refugees want to return home and the Mizoram government should help towards a solution of the problem. No discrimination should occur with the Reangs,” Mr Singh said but did not give details of the measures to solve the longstanding crisis.
Rajnath Singh also said that development in the Northeast is not taking speed due to insurgency problem. He appealed to the extremist groups to eschew violence to give the Union government 5 to 10 years’ time to work towards overall development of the region.
He warned that the government will not tolerate violence. Reacting to a query on extremist bases in Bangladesh and Myanmar, he said India has a friendly relation with these neighbouring countries and they are cooperating on security issues.