Mizoram recalls officials sent to conduct repatriation of Brus

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Aizawl, August 29: Mizoram government today decided to recall all the government officials sent to conduct the repatriation of Brus from six relief camps in neighbouring Tripura, a senior Home department official said.
Additional secretary in the Home department, Lalbiakzama told PTI that the decision was taken in the wake of majority of the inmates of the relief camps refusing to return to Mizoram and only three families had returned.
The officials were sent to conduct the repatriation of Brus from the six relief camps which commenced from August 25 and was scheduled to be completed by September 25, he said.
Of the 32,876 Brus belonging to 5,407 families who were identified by Mizoram officials during November 2016 as bonafide residents of Mizoram and could be repatriated, 2,753 people belonging to 423 families, majority of them from Kasakau relief camp, expressed willingness to be repatriated when officials visited them and conducted a survey recently.
Bru leaders in the relief camps had earlier expressed pessimism about the success of the proposed final repatriation as many people were not willing to return to Mizoram and continued to make fresh demands.
The Centre, however, was optimistic that the Bru families would return to Mizoram during this repatriation process after inking the agreement on July three between Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, chief ministers of Mizoram and Tripura and MBDPF chief A Sawibunga in Delhi.
In accordance with the agreement inked on July three in Delhi, all the Bru refugees were to be repatriated before September 30.
The agreement stipulated that Rs four lakh for each repatriated Bru family would be deposited in the bank account of the head of the family which would mature after three years and payment of Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance.
Each repatriated Bru family would be given Rs 5,000 through Direct Benefit Transfer every month and a free ration for two years.
After inking of the agreement, a senior official of the Ministry of Home Affairs said that the relief camps would be closed by first week of October and assistance doled out to the inmates to be discontinued forthwith.
Thousands of Brus had been lodged in the Tripura relief camps since late 1997 in the wake of a communal tension triggered by the brutal murder of Lalzawmliana, a forest guard inside the Dampa Tiger Reserve on October 21, 1997 by Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) militants.
The first attempt to repatriate them from November 16, 2009 not only failed but triggered another wave of exodus after Bru militants gunned down a youth at Bungthuam village three days before the commencement of the repatriation process.
Though some Bru families had already returned to Mizoram during a number of repatriation processes and on their own will, many of them continued to refuse to leave Tripura till date despite many attempts. (PTI)