India, Nov. 23 -- The ongoing ninth phase of repatriating thousands of members of the Bru community from refugee camps in Tripura back to Mizoram, which the ethnic group had fled 22 years ago, has been marked by reluctance to leave, sit-out protests and even deaths. Now the Bru have voiced a demand which may well ensure a satisfactory end to the face-off: collective repatriation to Mizoram's Dampa, a thickly wooded region spread across 500 sq kilometers that the Bru say was their original home.

There's just one catch: Dampa, was first declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 and in 1994, a tiger reserve under the purview of Project Tiger.

Quoting none less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, Bruno Msha, secretary of the Mizoram Bru ...