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Mizoram civil societies urge Bru refugees to return
Correspondent
 AIZAWL, Sept 19 - As preparations are going on for the final repatriation of Bru refugees from Tripura, the civil societies of Mizoram have urged all the refugees living in six relief camps in the neighbouring State to return without fail.

“The Government and the people of Mizoram are warmly welcoming the refugees, who are bona fide citizens of Mizoram, to come back home,” Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee said in a statement on Wednesday.

The NGO Coordination Committee comprises the State’s biggest organisation – Young Mizo Association, Mizoram Upa Pawl (senior citizens’ association), Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (Mizo women’s association) and two biggest students’ bodies, Mizo Zirlai Pawl and Mizo Students’ Union.

The committee also advised the Mizoram Government to exercise caution so as to repatriate only the Brus who had left Mizoram and their descendants.

Mizo NGOs have alleged that when thousands of Brus left Mizoram in the wake of the ethnic conflict in 1997 and took refuge in northern Tripura, a large number of Brus from other States also joined them in the relief camps.

While appealing to the Bru refugees, who have been identified by Mizoram, to return to Mizoram, the NGOs’ committee said this would be their last chance to return as eight repatriation exercises during the last decade had failed.

The Mizoram Government plans to repatriate over 4,400 Bru families from Tripura on October 1, which will be the ninth and final phase of repatriation for over 26,100 Bru people lodged at six relief camps in Tripura.

The Joint Monitoring Group meeting on Bru repatriation held in New Delhi on September 6 in principle approved of an amount of Rs 350 crore for the final phase of Bru repatriation.

The approved amount will cover rehabilitation package expenses, which include Rs 4 lakh for each family, Rs 1.5 lakh each as housing assistance, Rs 5,000 per month for each resettled Bru family in Mizoram and free rations for two years. The approved amount will also cover transportation.

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