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Hearing of claims of Bru to continue on Saturday: Home Secy

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Press Trust of India Aizawl
Hearing of claims and objections of 260 displaced Brus, whose names were excluded from the list of Mizoram's bonafide citizens during an identification process in July, could not be completed as scheduled on Friday and would continue on Saturday, an official said.
Altogether, 26,128 Brus, lodged in six relief camps of neighbouring Tripura, have made it to the list, he said.
Mizoram Home Secretary Lalbiakzama said the hearing of claims and objection began on Tuesday and was scheduled to be concluded on Friday with some officials sent from Mizoram remaining in the relief camps. It would continue on Saturday also as it could not be completed, he said.
Lalbiakzama told PTI that he has convened a meeting of the officials who conducted the hearing in the relief camps on Monday in Aizawl to complete the whole process before the commencement of the physical repatriation.
Of the 350 Brus claiming to be bona fide residents of Mizoram, the cases of over 80 people were settled while over 260 people have to be verified at a hearing in the relief camps.
Mizoram officials who conducted second phase of identification of bona fide Mizoram residents in the six Bru relief camps in Tripura district during July three to July 20 last had identified 26,128 people belonging to 4,278 families in the second phase of identification.
He said that all the identified families expressed willingness to return to Mizoram from Tripura's relief camps, but "hardliners and anti-repatriation organisations" may dissuade them from doing so, he claimed.
Thousands of Brus fled to Tripura in 1997 in the wake of a communal tension triggered by the killing of a forest guard by militants inside Dampa Tiger Reserve.
The Centre and the governments of Mizoram and Tripura have made multiple attempts to repatriate the Brus to their home state since 2009, but majority of them stayed back in the relief camps, citing inadequate rehabilitation package.
The government has promised to deposit Rs 4 lakh in the bank account of every repatriated family. It has also assured a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, free ration and Rs 5000 for other expenses for two years.
The next phase of repatriation is likely to be held in October, the home secretary added.
Police sources had earlier said that Bru insurgents have threatened the community members from returning to Mizoram as they plan to escalate their demand for a separate autonomous district council carved out western Mizoram, adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura.
The first attempt to repatriate the Brus in November 2009 had fizzled out following the murder of a Mizo youth at Bungthuam village in Mamit district. The murder had also triggered a fresh wave of exodus.
The Bru community, also called Reangs, is among the 21 scheduled tribes in the country. They are scattered across Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

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First Published: Aug 30 2019 | 6:35 PM IST

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