Nearly 35,000 Bru people are still lodging at six relief camps in Tripura since they fled Mizoram in 1997

Aizawl: Kolasib deputy commissioner Zoensanga chaired a meeting held at the conference hall of his office on Wednesday to discuss the ninth and final repatriation of Bru families from Tripura to Mizoram.

Kolasib DC chaired a meeting with village council leaders and village organisers 

Zoensanga met village council leaders from 10 villages within Kolasib district and discussed the new demands made by the displaced Brus currently residing at transit camps in Tripura.

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At the meeting, Zoensanga highlighted that the displaced Bru families in Tripura have laid down 25 demands to the government of Mizoram. Among these, the 666 families slated to be repatriated in 10 villages within the district have demanded a five-hectare land for each family.

Replying to demands made by displaced Bru families, village council members and village organisers, representing the 10 villages, said the impossibility of providing a five-hectare land to a single family. Moreover, the representatives highlighted that the Bru families sold off their property before fleeing to Tripura. They requested the government that the Bru families buy their own plot of land once they return from the transit camps.

The second phase identification held on July 2 this year confirmed that 666 displaced Bru families are to be repatriated in 10 villages within Kolasib district, whereas 822 families were identified in 2016. The re-identification carried out in 2018 has been reviewed last month as some families were classified as ‘others’.

Over 32,000 Bru families are still lodging at six relief camps North Tripura district after fleeing Mizoram following ethnic tension triggered by the murder of Lalzawmliana, a Mizo forest guard, near Persang, inside the Dampa tiger reserve in Mamit district by suspected Bru militants on October 21, 1997.

The first repatriation made in 2009 was derailed when suspected Bru militants shot dead a 17-year-old boy, Zarzokima, of Bungthuam village in Mamit district. The incident led to a greater exodus of Brus from Mizoram.

The Mizoram government prepared the second road map to rehabilitate displaced Brus from Tripura transit camps. But several attempts by the Centre and state government were futile as the Brus refused to be resettled citing security reasons and inadequate repatriation packages.

Between August and September last year, 42 families returned to Mizoram after the Centre threatened to stop their ration supply. The repatriation process scheduled to commence from September this year will be the final process. The government would provide a free ration and Rs 5,000 per month per family for a period of two years for displaced Brus returning to Mizoram.

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.

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