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Preparations on for Bru repatriation


Press Trust of India Aizawl
With the Lok Sabha elections over, preparations have begun for the eighth and final repatriation of the Brus lodged in six relief camps in neighbouring Tripura, Mizoram home department officials Wednesday said.
The district core committee on Bru repatriation held a meeting at Mizoram-Assam border town of Kolasib on Tuesday and at Mamit district on the Mizoram-Tripura-Bangladesh border on Wednesday to discuss the final repatriation of 32,876 Brus belonging to 5,407 families, lodged in the Tripura relief camps since late 1997, they said.
The officials said that 4,185 Bru families would be resettled in Mamit district, 822 families in Kolasib district and the remaining 400 families in south Mizoram's Lunglei district.
"Though it may not be advisable to undertake the repatriation process during the monsoon due to bad condition of roads, preparations would continue for the final repatriation process, during autumn," the Additional Secretary of Home Department of Mizoram, Lalbiakzama, said.
The state government and the NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella body of civil society groups in Mizoram, and student associations reached an agreement before the Lok Sabha polls that the repatriation process would be taken up this year and it should be the last attempt.
The agreement said that those who refuse to return to Mizoram during the proposed repatriation should stay back in Tripura and after that their names would be deleted from the voters list in Mizoram.
Thousands of Brus continued to refuse to return to Mizoram even after the Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF), the apex body of the Brus in the relief camps, signed an agreement with the Centre and the state governments of Mizoram and Tripura on July three last year.
In the agreement, the Centre promised to provide Rs four lakh to each repatriated family.
In addition, each family was supposed to get Rs 1.5 lakh for housing assistance and Rs 5,000 per month and free ration for two years.
The vexed Bru problem arose when Bru bodies demanded a separate autonomous district council by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura in 1997.
It aggravated by the murder of Lalzawmliana, a forest guard, working in the Dampa Tiger Reserve near Persang hamlet within the Reserve, by Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) insurgents on October 21, 1997.
The first attempt to repatriate the Brus from the six relief camps in Tripura from November 16, 2009.
It fizzled out due to the murder of a Mizo youth at Bungthuam village on November 13, 2009.
Repeated attempts to repatriate them failed till date as people remained in the camps.

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First Published: May 29 2019 | 8:20 PM IST

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