By Adam Halliday
Aizawl, May 21 : Officials in Mizoram’s western districts will start verifying displaced Bru tribals lodged in the relief camps in Tripura on June 2. This will be the final phase of repatriation for the displaced tribals.
Mamit Deputy Commissioner Vanlalngaihsaka said Wednesday that he had held meetings with various village council leaders and community organisations in this regard. “All the groups have pledged their cooperation and said that they will watch out for any untoward incident before and during the repatriation process,” Vanlalngaihsaka told The Indian Express.
Mizoram officials will undertake the first verification process in Kaskau relief camp, during which they will ascertain whether the Bru tribals lodged there are originally from Mizoram. Once that is complete, the officials will provide transportation for the tribals to return to Mizoram. The verification process will then proceed to the other five relief camps, Vanlalngaihsaka added.
Officials in Mizoram’s Home Department have said the repatriation process is likely to be completed by September. While Mamit district is set to welcome home almost 2,600 Bru families, several hundred families might return to the neighbouring Kolasib and Lunglei districts.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court approved an agreement reached between Mizoram, Tripura and the Union Home Ministry that any displaced Bru tribal who continues to refuse to return to Mizoram under the repatriation process will be deleted from Mizoram’s electoral rolls (The tribals continue to vote for Mizoram elections despite staying in Tripura ). The agreement also said that the relief camps would be closed.
Tens of thousands of Bru tribals fled Mizoram in 1997 following ethnic violence with the Mizos. The conflict had been triggered after Bru militants murdered a Mizo official. The tribals fled to Tripura where they were put in relief camps and they have stayed there ever since. Over the years, Tripura has asked Mizoram to take back the tribals.