The Mizoram government on Wednesday gave green signal to repatriate the over 32,800 Bru tribals lodged in relief camps in Tripura district to Mizoram from August 14.
The announcement comes following the quadripartite agreement signed on July 3 in New Delhi between the Centre, Mizoram and Tripura state governments and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), the apex body of the Bru community in the relief camps, for repatriation of all the Bru refugees from Tripura before September 30.
In the meeting on Wednesday, Mizoram Home Minister R Lalzirliana informed political parties and civil societies of the state that the repatriation would begin as per schedule on August 14 and was expected to be completed by September 10.
According to the agreement, Rs 4 lakh would be deposited in the account of the head of each repatriated Bru family, which would mature after three years, and a payment of Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance.
Moreover, each repatriated Bru family would also be given Rs 5,000 through Direct Benefit Transfer every month and free ration for two years.
Altogether 32,857 Brus belonging to 5,413 families are lodged in six relief camps in Tripura.
During the repatriation, 4,199 Bru families would be resettled in 48 villages in Mamit district of Mizoram, 10 villages in Kolasib district bordering Assam will host 824 families and the rest 384 families will be resettled in four villages in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district, Mizoram Additional Secretary for Home Lalbiakzama had said on Monday.
According to the officials, the repatriated families would be initially lodged at makeshift camps after which they will be allowed to construct houses of their own on the land allocated by respective village councils.
Meanwhile, genuine Bru residents of Mizoram who have been identified in November 2016 would be repatriated in their respective villages, officials said.
However, a section of the Bru refugees were not happy with the repatriation arrangement.
Lalzirliana said that the state government had recently received instructions from the Election Commission of India Commission to conduct revision of voters’ lists in the relief camps, while its earlier order had asked conducting the revision in Mizoram after completion of the physical repatriation process.
“We have to implement the instructions of the Election Commission of India by conducting the electoral roll revisions in the relief camps,” he said.
The civil societies and the political parties, however, were not happy with the latest instruction of the EC.
“We decided that the Election Commission would be approached again so that the entire electoral process should be conducted within the state,” said TA Vanlalruata, president of central committee of the Young Mizo Association, a civil society organisation.
The first attempt to repatriate the Brus in 2009 were failed and triggered another wave of exodus after the killing of a youth three days before the commencement of the repatriation process.
The Brus are in Tripura since late 1997 in the wake of a communal tension triggered by the murder of a forest guard inside the Dampa Tiger Reserve on October 21, 1997 by Bru National Liberation Front militants.
(With inputs from agencies)