Mizoram government has rescheduled the proposed repatriation of over 5,000 Bru families from six relief camps in Tripura to March next year. This was stated by a senior state Home department official.
The official further informed that as per the earlier schedule, it was proposed that the repatriation would begin from December first week, but deferred till March next year as funds meant for the process has not been released by the Union Home Ministry.
The Mizoram government had submitted a revised estimate of the expenses for repatriation to the tune of Rs 123 crore.
The state Home department official, however, clarified that repatriation from March, 2018 would be implemented on time only if the Centre releases the fund.
The Mizoram government officials who conducted the identification in the Tripura relief camps during November 2 to November 23 this year, identified 32,857 people belonging to 5,413 families as bona fide residents of Mizoram and to be repatriated.
The proposed physical repatriation scheduled to commence from November 30 could, however, not take off due to different reasons including increase in the number of bona fide residents of Mizoram from 21,000 to 32,857, necessitating revision of the expenditure estimate.
Thousands of Brus fled Mizoram and migrated to Tripura after Bru militants gunned down a forest guard inside the Dampa Tiger Reserve on October 21, 1997.
The very first effort to repatriate them way back in November 16, 2009 evaporated into thin air due to the murder of a Mizo youth by Bru militants at Bungthuam village near Tripura border three days before the commencement of the repatriation. This again triggered another wave of exodus.
A number of families have returned to Mizoram during the government-sponsored repatriation process earlier and some came back on their own will. However, thousands of them are still languishing in the Tripura relief camps making several fresh demands and conditions for their return.