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Bru repatriation date to be finalised on Friday

 AIZAWL, Sept 4 - The date for repatriation of the 4,447 Bru families lodged in relief camps in Tripura to their home State Mizoram will be finalised at a meeting in New Delhi on Friday, a senior official said here today. The meeting of the joint monitoring group on Bru repatriation will be attended by officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mizoram and Tripura governments, leaders of the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), and members of civil societies. The MBDPF is the apex body of the inmates of the six relief camps.

“Mizoram Government has proposed to commence the repatriation from October 10. Unless puja celebrations pose problems and the monsoon plays spoilsport, the ninth round of physical repatriation is expected to begin in October and complete this year,” Mizoram Home Secretary Lalbiakzama said.

For the ninth round of repatriation, the Mizoram Government has identified 4,447 Bru families lodged in the relief camps as bona fide residents of the State last month.

Eight attempts had been made to repatriate the Brus, staying in six camps in Tripura after fleeing from Mizoram since late 1997, but the majority of them remained there.

Only around 1,681 Bru families have returned to Mizoram so far since 2010 and were resettled in Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts.

The Brus continue to refuse to return to Mizoram even after the MBDPF signed an agreement with the Centre and Mizoram and Tripura governments on July 3 last year.

In the agreement, the Centre promised to provide Rs 4 lakh to each repatriated family by depositing the money in their accounts, payment of Rs 1.5 lakh for housing assistance and payment of Rs 5,000 per month to each family and free ration for two years. The Bru people have been living in six relief camps in Tripura since they fled Mizoram in 1997 following ethnic clashes.

The first attempt to repatriate the Brus from the camps from November 16, 2009, not only fizzled out due to the murder of a Mizo youth at Bungthuam village on November 13, 2009, but also triggered another wave of exodus. – PTI

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