Latest News in MizoramAIZAWL, July 4: The final repatriation of the Bru refugees from their camps in Tripura is scheduled to be completed before the Mizoram Assembly elections slated later this year, State Home Department officials said today. The Central Government, the State governments of Mizoram and Tripura, and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum on Tuesday signed an agreement to repatriate all the Bru refugees who have been living in relief camps in north Tripura for over 22 years. “After several years of negotiations, the stakeholders have agreed that 5,407 families comprising 32,876 persons presently living in temporary camps in Tripura will be repatriated to Mizoram before September 30. A committee under the Special Secretary (Internal Security) will coordinate the implementation of the agreement,” a Home Department official said. 

Latest News in Mizoram - Final repatriation of Bru refugees before Mizoram polls

According to a release from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the Central Government will provide financial assistance for rehabilitation of Brus in Mizoram and address issues of security, education and livelihood in consultation with the State governments. Each family will be given Rs 4 lakh as a one-time financial assistance, Rs 5,000 cash assistance per month for two years, Rs 1.5 lakh to build a house, and free rations for two years. 

The agreement was signed by the Special Secretary (Internal Security) of the Ministry of Home Affairs Rina Mitra, Chief Secretary of Tripura Sanjeev Ranjan, Principal Secretary of Mizoram Lalnunmawia Chuaungo and president of the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum A Sawibunga. It was signed in the presence of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister of Mizoram Lal Thanhawla, and Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb. Thousands of Bru families living in the western belt of Mizoram fled to Tripura in 1997 in the wake of a communal conflict with the majority Mizos, triggered by the killing of a Mizo Forest official by Bru militants. 

After the backlash in 1997, the displaced Brus took refuge in a town called Kanchanpur in northern Tripura along the border with Mizoram. Now they are spread across seven refugee camps in the Jampui Hills, which separate Tripura from Mizoram and Bangladesh. A number of attempts were earlier made to repatriate the Bru refugees, but all had failed due to differences between the Bru leaders and the Government. 

The first effort to repatriate the Brus on November 16, 2009 did not materialise due to the murder of a Mizo youth by Bru militants near Bungthuam village near the Tripura border, three days before the commencement of the repatriation. The incident also triggered another wave of exodus. A number of Bru families have since returned to Mizoram during the Government-sponsored repatriation process and also on their own will. Yet thousands of them have remained in the Tripura relief camps, which led to fresh demands and conditions for their return to Mizoram.

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