The Mizoram government will move ahead with the planned roadmap for the repatriation of displaced Bru tribals back home from Tripura in spite of no one having turned up for the verification process in one of six relief camps where it was held earlier this week.
“There will be no facilitation centre for returning Bru tribals at Kanhmun (at the inter-state border) because no one appeared for the three-day verification process in Kaskau relief camp between June 2 and 4. As already outlined, an identification team will stay at Khakchangpara relief camp for the identification process between June 15 and 18,” the government said in a statement.
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Tens of thousands of Brus fled Mizoram in 1997 following ethnic violence sparked by the murder of a Mizo official by Bru militants. They have since lived in six designated relief camps in Tripura where they survive on meagre rations and little avenues of employment or education.
The Union Home Ministry, Tripura and Mizoram had agreed earlier this year and told the Supreme Court a final repatriation process for about 30,000 displaced Brus would be undertaken before September ends.
It was also agreed that those who do not return in that time would be removed from Mizoram’s electoral rolls (more than 11,000 Brus who have lived almost two decades in Tripura retain the right to vote within Mizoram) and the camps disbanded.
Various phases of the repatriation process have been undertaken since 2010, but they have all met with limited success because of opposition by relief camp leaders who continue to demand higher compensation packages.
More than a thousand families have however breached apparent instructions to not return home by either returning during these formal repatriation processes or on their own outside the repatriation timeframe and reporting to the Mizoram authorities later on.