Over 32,000 Bru people are still camping at six relief camps in Tripura since they fled Mizoram in 1997 Credit: File image

Aizawl: The Mizoram government is making effort to repatriate over 32,800 Bru families from Tripura within this year, home minister Lalchamliana informed the state legislature on Wednesday.

Replying to an unstarred question from C Lalsawivunga of opposition Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), Lalchamliana said tripartite efforts are being made by the Centre, Mizoram and Tripura governments to complete the final phase of Bru repatriation before December end.

He said that the state government did not find it necessary to give attention to the Bru families, who refuse to return during the proposed repatriation.

Also Read: Mizoram to hold 2nd phase of Bru identification for repatriation

“The state government will hold discussion with the ministry of home affairs over these cases, if the need arises,” he said.

Lalchamliana said that the state government could not take immediate measures in connection with Bru repatriation due to the recent Lok Sabha elections.

As an initial step, meeting of district-level core committee will be held by officials of the state home department and respective deputy commissioners of Mamit, Lunglei and Kolasib districts where the Bru families will be resettled.

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

Several attempts to repatriate them since 2009 went futile as the Bru tribals refused to return to their villages in Mizoram citing security reasons and inadequate rehabilitation. Till then, over 8,000 families had returned to Mizoram during repatriations or on their own.

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.

Also Read: PRISM slams EC for terming Brus as ‘ordinary residents’ of Mizoram

Only 150 refugees from 42 families had returned to their villages during the last repatriation exercise conducted between August and September last year.

Earlier, state home additional secretary Lalbiaksangi had said that repatriation of Bru tribals would be conducted after rainy season most probably from October.

She had said that the proposed repatriation would be of final phase, according to the agreement reached by the state government and civil society groups ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in April.

According to the official, re-identification of Bru families would be required as some families were missed during the last identification in 2016.

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