Despite the delay in funding, Mizoram government has made necessary preparations to repatriate Bru refugees from Tripura relief camps, Home department officials said.
The Mizoram home department has submitted a financial proposal of Rs. 123 crores to the ministry for repatriating and resettling the Brus, who have been languishing in three relief camps in northern Tripura. As per official records there are as many as 32,857 Bru refugees.
In 1997 some Bru miscreants killed a Mizo wildlife game watcher at Persang village in the western Mamit district of Mizoram, fearing an ethnic backlash the Brus left Mizoram for Tripura and have settled there since.
Several batches of the refugees were repatriated in 2006 but the majority of them were hesitant to abide by the arrangements of Mizoram government and refused repatriation. The refugees welfare body demanded new group settlements for the refugees while the state administration charted the refugees be resettled at the same settlements prior to their exodus.
Earlier attempts made by the Mizoram government to resettle the refugees failed due to the Bru’s demand for group settlements. Larger NGOs of the state felt that group resettlements of the refugees would harm the political geography of the state.
According to home department sources, this attempt to repatriate the Bru refugees is the eighth one and would probably be the last. The chief minister of the state Lal Thanhlawla too, said that several attempts have been made to repatriate these refugees and had warned them that this would be the last attempt to repatriate them.