Mizoram government has rescheduled the proposed repatriation of over 5,000 Bru families from six relief camps in Tripura to March next year, a senior state Home department official on Tuesday said.
The official said that as per the earlier schedule, it was proposed that the repatriation would begin from December first week, but it was deferred to March as the Union Ministry of Home Affairs failed to release funds meant for the exercise.
He said the proposal to commence the repatriation from March, 2018 would be implemented on time only if the Centre releases the fund for expenses to be incurred in the repatriation process.
The state government had submitted a revised estimate for the expenses for repatriation to the tune of Rs 123 crore.
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 first effort to repatriate them in November 16, 2009 not only fizzled out due to the murder of a Mizo youth by Bru militants near Tripura border Bungthuam village three days before the commencement of the repatriation, but triggered another wave of exodus.
Even as a number of families have returned to Mizoram during the government-sponsored repatriation process as also on their own will, thousands of them remained in the Tripura relief camps making several fresh demands and conditions for their return.