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Over 26,000 Bru tribals from Tripura are likely to be deferred
Over 26,000 Bru tribals from Tripura are likely to be deferred|File image
MIZORAM

Mizoram: Fund shortage likely to defer Bru repatriation process

Proposed repatriation was scheduled to be over by Oct, after which Centre was supposed to close down all relief camps in Tripura, stop dolling out rations

Henry L Khojol

Aizawl: The proposed final repatriation of over 26,000 Bru tribals from Tripura is likely to be deferred, sources in the state home department said on Tuesday.

Sources said that although the proposed final reparation was scheduled to be conducted in October, it may get delayed as the Union ministry of home affairs has not sanctioned money for the repatriation process.

It is said that that the proposed repatriation of Bru refugees from Tripura will be chalked out once the Centre releases funds. The final repatriation is scheduled to be conducted during the current year.

According to sources, preparations are on in full swing from May by holding a meeting of the district core committee on Bru repatriation at the border town of Kolasib, followed by a meeting at Mizoram-Tripura-Bangladesh border Mamit town and at Bangladesh border Lunglei town and later identification of the refugees.

It is said that the state government had conducted identification of Bru refugees lodged at six relief camps in Tripura during July 3-20.

At least 26,128 people from 4,278 families were identified as the bona fide residents of Mizoram during the exercise, he said. However, the sources said that the figure was not final as re-identification was conducted to include those who have been left out during the identification process. “The re-identification was more or less completed. However, the final figure is yet to come out as scrutiny will be held,” sources added.

The meeting of Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) on Bru repatriation held in New Delhi in June had decided to conduct final phase of Bru repatriation in September.

The proposed repatriation was scheduled to be completed by October after which the Centre will close down all the six relief camps and stop dolling out rations to the refugees. The refugees would be resettled in Mamit district, Kolasib and Lunglei districts, according to sources.

The state government and the NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of the civil societies and student associations, which threatened to boycot Parliamentary polls on the issue of exercise of franchise by Bru voters in the relief camps, reached an agreement before the Lok Sabha polls held in April, that the repatriation process would be taken up this year and it should be the last attempt.

Thousands of Bru families fled Mizoram and migrated to Tripura following ethnic tension triggered by the murder of a Mizo forest guard by Bru militants in 1997.

Several attempts by the Centre, Mizoram and Tripura governments, to repatriate them since 2009 went futile as the refugees did not accept the repatriation packages.