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Nearly 35,000 Bru people are still camping at six relief camps in Tripura since they fled Mizoram in 1997
Nearly 35,000 Bru people are still camping at six relief camps in Tripura since they fled Mizoram in 1997 |File image
MIZORAM

Bru repatriation unlikely after Lok Sabha polls: Mizoram official

Centre had asked the state govt to start the repatriation process of over 5,000 Bru families from Tripura after the general elections, which was due to be over on May 27

Henry L Khojol

Mizoram government is unlikely to conduct Bru repatriation after Lok Sabha elections as directed by the Centre, an official of the state home department said on Monday.

The official said that the Union ministry of home affairs had asked the state government to start repatriation process of over 5,000 Bru families from Tripura after the Lok Sabha election, which was due to be over on May 27.

He said that the state government had informed the Centre that it is not in a position to conduct repatriation process till the rainy season is over.

He added that the state government is hopeful to begin Bru repatriation once the rainy season is over, unless there is inconvenience.

However, the Bru repatriation may get delayed and the state government would not be able to instantly begin the repatriation if the Centre did not provide the estimated amount for the purpose, he added.

Nearly 35,000 Bru people are still camping at six relief camps in Tripura since they fled Mizoram in 1997 following communal tension triggered by the murder of a Mizo forest guard by the erstwhile Bru militant group.

Several attempts by the Centre as well as the government of Mizoram and Tripura to repatriate them went futile as the Bru tribal reluctant to return citing security reasons and inadequate rehabilitation packages.

In the last repatriation process between August and September last year, 150 refugees from 42 out 5,407 families returned to Mizoram after the Centre decided to stop dolling out ration to the refugees.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) halted all relief supplies from October 1 last year after the repatriation failed. However, supplies resumed three weeks later as severe food crisis had started in the Bru camps.

The Centre’s order to stop supply of free ration and cash dole to the refugees from January 15 this year had also been lifted and extended till May 30.