4 Bru refugee families return to Mizoram from Tripura

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Aizawl, Aug 27 (PTI): Altogether four Bru refugee families have returned from the relief camps in Tripura after the final repatriation process started on Saturday, a senior state home department official here said.

A total of 32,876 Brus belonging to 5,407 families living in six relief camps in North Tripura district were identified by Mizoram government during November 2016 as bona fide residents of the state and could be repatriated.

The official said two Bru families, to be resettled at Rasdali and Meidum villages in Mizoram-Assam border district of Kolasib, returned on Monday, the second day of the repatriation.

On Sunday, it was not an official day for repatriation but one family returned. Another family had come back to Mizoram on Friday, a day before the repatriation commenced, he said.

The official said the state government would continue to undertake the repatriation process scheduled to be conducted from August 25 till September 25 in accordance with the road map for repatriation prepared by the state government and approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

During an exercise to identify who wanted to return to Mizoram recently, 2,753 people belonging to 423 families, majority of them from Kasakau relief camp, expressed willingness to be repatriated.

However, even these who expressed willingness to return to Mizoram earlier were most likely to stay back, Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) president A Sawibunga told PTI from Naisingpara relief camp.

The MBDPF had signed an agreement with the Centre and governments of Mizoram and Tripura on July 3 in New Delhi for repatriation of the Bru displaced people. The repatriation process is scheduled to be completed before September 25.

The agreement stipulated that Rs 4 lakh for each repatriated Bru family would be deposited in the bank account of the head of the family which would mature after three years and payment of Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance.

Each repatriated Bru family would also be given Rs 5,000 through Direct Benefit Transfer every month and free ration for two years. A section of the refugees, however, were not happy with the package and demand more.

The Brus are in Tripura since late 1997 in the wake of a communal tension triggered by the murder of a forest guard inside the Dampa Tiger Reserve on October 21, 1997 by Bru National Liberation Front militants.

The first attempt to repatriate them in 2009 failed and triggered another wave of exodus after the killing of a youth three days before the commencement of the repatriation process.

Though some Bru families had returned to Mizoram during a number of repatriation processes and on their own, many of them refused to leave Tripura.

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