Silchar, Oct. 2: The second stage of repatriation of Bru refugees from Tripura to Mamit district in Mizoram has been put on hold by Mamit deputy commissioner V. Lalremthanga till October 14.
The process, which was resumed after nearly one-and-a-half years on September 30, was halted after a Mizo student outfit, Mizo Zirlai Pawl (Mizo Students’ Front) raised an objection on the ground that many non-Mizoram Brus were moving to Mizoram along with the refugees.
Lalremthanga told The Telegraph over telephone from Mamit that he had asked Bru Co-ordination Committee convener Elvis Chorki to survey refugee facilitation centres at Kanhmun and Zomuantlang, along with Mizoram government officials to find out if any non-Mizoram Brus have managed to enlist themselves as refugees.
He said only those Bru refugees, whose names were in voters’ lists prepared between 1990 and 1995 in Mizoram or those who could trace their parents or forefathers in such lists, would be accepted as the genuine refugees.
The deputy commissioner said volunteers and government officials found 20 doubtful Bru evacuees in the facilitation camps after the first phase of repatriation on Monday.
In the first batch of evacuees, which crossed over to Mizoram from Tripura after 16 years on Monday, there were over 86 Bru families comprising 558 refugees.
Another batch is now waiting its turn to return to Mizoram.
The Centre has also arranged food and ration, for a year, for the returning refugees.
Nearly 34,000 refugees in North Tripura’s refugee camps were driven out of their homes in November 1997 from Mizoram in the aftermath of an ethnic riot between the majority Mizo population and minority Reang people, which was sparked off by the Bru militants.
Between 2009 and 2011, as many as 3,000 Bru refugees were repatriated to Mizoram from six relief camps in North Tripura.