AIZAWL, May 31 - Preparations are on to repatriate over 32,800 Bru people from Tripura to Mizoram, which is likely to begin from October this year, a senior official of the State Home department said on Thursday.
The Additional Secretary in charge of Home, Lalbiaksangi, said the final phase of repatriation of over 5,000 Bru families lodged at six relief camps in Tripura would be conducted as per the agreement between the Mizoram Government and civil society groups. “Though the actual date has not been chalked out, the State Government is planning to conduct the proposed repatriation after the rainy season, most probably in October,” the official said.
Lalbiaksangi said that re-identification of the Bru families would be required as names of some families were missed during the last repatriation conducted in 2016.
“The Centre has directed the State Government to conduct reidentification following complaints raised by the Bru people,” the official said. Lalbiaksangi added that the Government is yet to prepare a schedule for the proposed identification exercise.
During the last identification conducted in 2016, Mizoram officials identified 32,876 Bru people belonging to 5,407 families as bona fide residents of Mizoram. In the last reidentification process in 2018, only 2,753 people belonging to 423 out of 5,407 families had expressed their willingness to return to Mizoram.
Following communal tension triggered by the murder of a Forest guard by the erstwhile Bru militants, thousands of Bru people migrated to Tripura in 1997. Since then they have been lodged at six relief camps in Tripura. Several attempts to repatriate them were futile as the Bru people refused to return to their villages in Mizoram, citing security reasons and inadequate rehabilitation packages.
In the last repatriation process between August and September last year, only 150 refugees from 42 families had returned to Mizoram after the Centre decided to stop doling out rations to the refugees. So far, over 8,000 Bru people have returned to Mizoram since 2009.
The NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella association of major civil societies and student bodies in Mizoram, has been demanding deletion of Bru voters from the State’s electoral rolls if they refuse to return to Mizoram.