Officials on Tuesday began hearing the claims and objections of 260 displaced Brus, whose names were excluded from the list of Mizoram’s bonafide citizens during an identification process in July, state home secretary Lalbiakzama said.
Altogether, 26,128 Brus, lodged in six relief camps of neighboring Tripura, have made it to the list, he said.
Over the next one week, officials from three districts of Mizoram will be hearing the pleas of those excluded from the list, Lalbiakzama said.
Most of them are willing to return to Mizoram from Tripura’s relief camps, but “hardliners and anti-repatriation organizations” may dissuade them from doing so, he claimed.
The district officials will prepare a final list after thorough verification of the claims and objections, Lalbiakzama said.
“A total of 350 names were excluded from the list, but 90 names were cleared after scrutiny in Aizawl. The final list will be prepared after thorough verification of the claims,” the home secretary said.
Thousands of Brus fled to Tripura in 1997 in the wake of a communal tension triggered by the killing of a forest guard by militants inside Dampa Tiger Reserve.
The center and governments of Mizoram and Tripura have made multiple attempts to repatriate the Brus to their home state since 2009, but the majority of them stayed in the relief camps, citing inadequate rehabilitation package.
The government has promised to deposit Rs 4 lakh in the bank account of every repatriated family. It has also assured a sum of 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, free ration and Rs 5000 for other expenses for two years.
The next phase of repatriation is likely to be held in October, the home secretary added.
Police sources had earlier said that Bru insurgents have threatened the community members from returning to Mizoram as the plan to escalate the demands of a separate autonomous district council carved out western Mizoram, adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura.
The first attempt to repatriate the Brus in November 2009 had fizzled out following the murder of a Mizo youth at Bungthuam village in Mamit district. The murder had also triggered a new wave of an exodus.
The Bru community, also called Reangs, is among the 21 scheduled tribes in the country. They are scattered across Assam, Mizoram, and Tripura.
Updated by: News Sources 2019-08-28 5:22 PM