Aizawl: The second and final phase of identification of Bru refugees, lodged at six relief camps in neighbouring Tripura, is in progress, an official in the state home department said on Friday.
The identification, which commenced from Wednesday, is scheduled to be completed by July 20.
Although the actual figure of refugees is yet to be compiled, more than 23,800 from over 350 families have been identified as bona fide residents of Mizoram at three relief camps, the official said. He said that identification of Bru families at Kaskau, Hansapara and Khakchangpara camps have been completed during the exercise in three days.
According to the official, the new list has also included those newborn babies, who have not been included during the last identification in 2016. He said that the Bru refugees have expressed their willingness to return to Mizoram. “The identification exercise is still to go at three other relief camps and is scheduled to be completed by July 20,” he said.
Thousands of Bru families fled Mizoram and migrated to Tripura following ethnic tension 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.
The meeting of Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) on Bru Repatriation held in New Delhi on June 30 had decided to conduct final phase of Bru repatriation starting from September.
The proposed repatriation is 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, official sources said.
Before the Lok Sabha polls in April, the state government and major civil society organisations had reached an agreement to conduct final phase of Bru repatriation within this year.
Meanwhile, People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), a newly floated political party, has launched crusade against the Bru people to ensure that they do not exercise franchise in Mizoram as long as they live in Tripura.
NGO Co-ordination Committee, a conglomerate of major civil society organisations and students bodies, has also been demanding that those Bru voters, who are unwilling to return to Mizoram, should be removed from the state’s electoral roll.