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Return home: Mizo parties, civil societies to all Bru refugees

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By PTI Updated: Sep 30, 2019 10:33 pm
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Aizawl, Sep. 30 (PTI): Political parties and civil societies of Mizoram on Monday appealed to all the Bru refugees living in relief camps in Tripura to return to their home state during the repatriation to commence from October 3.

Altogether 4,447 Bru families, lodged in six relief camps in Tripura, were scheduled to return to the neighbouring state from where they had fled since 1997 following ethnic clashes.

A meeting of the political parties and civil societies, convened by Home Minister Lalchamliana, also urged the people of the villages where the refugees were proposed to be resettled to welcome them, an official statement said here.

The ninth round of repatriation is scheduled to begin from October 3 and expected to be completed by November 30.

As a part of the repatriation, 2,051 Brus belonging to 364 families from four relief camps have been identified to be resettled in four villages of southern Mizoram’s Lunglei district, bordering Bangladesh.

The statement said 71 officials including security personnel have left Lungtei town this morning to conduct the repatriation in five batches.

In the first of the five batches, 408 people of 65 families would move from the relief camps on October 3.

The Centre has approved INR 350 crore for the ninth phase of repatriation and the amount covers transportation and rehabilitation package expenses, which include Rs 5,000 per month for each resettled Bru family in Mizoram and free ration for them for two years.

The Mizoram government has identified members of 4,447 Bru families lodged in the relief camps as bona fide residents of the state last month.

The home secretary had earlier said all the identified families expressed willingness to return to Mizoram though obstruction from hard-liners and anti-repatriation elements cannot be ruled out.

Eight attempts had been made to repatriate the Brus, also called Reangs, and only around 1,681 families have returned to Mizoram since 2010 and were resettled in Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts.

The vexed Bru problem started when the Bru people, spearheaded by an organisation, Bru National Union, demanded a separate autonomous district council by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura in September, 1997.

The situation was aggravated by the murder of a forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in western Mizoram by Bru National Liberation Front insurgents on October 21, 1997.

The first attempt to repatriate the Brus from Tripura from November 16, 2009 not only fizzled out due to the murder of a Mizo youth at Bungthuam village on November 13, 2009, but also triggered another wave of exodus.

The last repatriation exercise in 2018 also did not bore much fruit.

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By PTI Updated: Sep 30, 2019 10:33:38 pm