32000 Bru refugees set for Mizoram
Aizawl: The Mizoram government will begin the repatriation of over 32,800 Bru refugees from Tripura on Saturday despite sources saying the refugees were not ready to return.
Additional secretary (home) Lalbiakazama told The Telegraph that repatriation of Bru families, who are willing to return to Mizoram, will be carried out on Saturday according to the road map.
"No matter if Bru families are unwilling to return, we will go ahead with the repatriation as per schedule," he said.
He said the state government has completed preparations for resettlement of the Bru families.
Over 32,857 Brus belonging to more than 5,413 families have been living in six relief camps in Tripura after they fled Mizoram owing to ethnic violence in 1997.
Though the repatriation was earlier scheduled to commence from August 14, it was deferred to August 25 owing to the "unpreparedness" of a section of inmates. Between August 16 and 18, Mizoram officials conducted identification of Bru families in Tripura. The officials also conducted re-identification of those families who were left out in 2016.
Home department officials said around 2,753 people belonging to 423 families from three relief camps have expressed their willingness to return to Mizoram during the identification process.
Of the 423 families, 415 are from Kaskau camp, six from Khakchangpara camp and two from Hamsapara camp, they said. No families from Asapara, Hazacherra and Naisingpara, the largest relief camp housing more than 2,000 families, are willing to return to Mizoram, officials said.
The Bru families will be resettled in Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts.
Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) president A. Sawibung said they have no objection to families willing to return to Mizoram.
The Equal Package Demand Committee, a group formed by the already repatriated families, demanded equal rehabilitation package and threatened to boycott the process.
Committee chairman Elvis Chorkhy told this correspondent that they may allow the repatriation for a couple of days to show their sincerity to the request of the government during a meeting in Damcherra on August 10 but would launch agitation if there is no response to their demands.