The Centre has directed the Mizoram government to conduct re-identification following complaint raised by the Bru people Credit: File image 

Aizawl: Preparations are on to repatriate over 32,800 Bru people from Tripura to Mizoram, which is likely to begin from October, a senior official in the state home department said on Thursday.

State home additional secretary Lalbiaksangi said the final phase of repatriation of over 5,000 Bru families lodged at six relief camps in Tripura will be conducted as per the agreement between the Mizoram government and civil society groups ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

“Though actual date has not been chalked out the state government is planning to conduct the proposed repatriation after rainy season most probably in October,” she said.

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She said that re-identification of Bru families would be required as some families were missed during the last repatriation conducted in 2016. “The Centre has directed the state government to conduct re-identification following complaint raised by the Bru people,” she said.

She added that the government is yet to schedule for the proposed identification exercise.

During the last identification conducted in 2016, Mizoram officials identified 32,876 Bru people belonging to 5,407 families as bona fide residents of Mizoram. In the last re-identification process in 2018, only 2,753 people belonging to 423 out of 5,407 families had expressed their willingness to return to Mizoram.

Fleeing communal tension triggered by the murder of a Mizo forest guard by the erstwhile Bru militants, thousands of Bru migrated to Tripura in 1997. Since then, they have been lodged at six relief camps in Tripura.

Several attempts to repatriate them went futile as the Bru tribal refused to return to their villages in Mizoramciting security reasons and inadequate rehabilitation.

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

So far, over 8,000 Bru people have returned to Mizoram since 2009.

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NGO Co-ordination committee, an umbrella association of major civil societies and student bodies, has been demanding deletion of Bru voters from the state’s electoral roll, if they refuse to return.

Opposing to setting up of special polling booth for the Bru voters, the committee had threatened to boycott the Lok Sabha polls in April but later reversed its decision following an agreement with the state government to conduct final phase of Bru reparation.

Lalbiaksangi said that the Centre has sanctioned fund for the repatriation but additional funds may be required after finalising the process.

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