Aizawl, Aug 28: The Supreme Court-monitored repatriation of Bru tribals who fled Mizoram for Tripura in 1997 ended on Thursday as officials closed the verification and identification counters at Hazacherra, the sixth and last relief camp.
As per the directive of the centre, the repatriation process was carried out by the government of Mizoram from 2 June to 27 August. No one from the more than 11,000 adults enlisted in Mizoram’s electoral rolls and their families who live in these camps has turned up for verification and identification.
Initially, the repatriation process begun with opening verification counters at Kaskau Relief Camp from 2 – 4 June followed by verification at another 5 camps.
On June 29, two families turned up for verification at Hmasapara Camp. But later, one family had, in writing, intimated the government of its unwillingness to return to Mizoram. No Bru families except these two families and another family at Hazacherra had turned for verification o avail of the rehabilitation package offered by the Union Home Ministry (MHA).
The just-concluded repatriation process according to the government might be the last effort to bring back the displaced tribals from Tripura and resettle them in Mizoram.
In line with a roadmap drawn up by the state governments and the MHA (which was submitted to and approved by the SC), officials from Mizoram accompanied by those from Tripura set up verification counters in the six relief camps for several days each.
Anyone willing to return home to Mizoram were to turn up at these counters with necessary documents and officials would then verify if they are bona-fide residents of the state.
They would then be given transport assistance till the villages earmarked for their resettlement and given close to a lakh Rupees per family to help them re-establish their lives, land to build houses on and a year of free rations.
Except for three families who anyway changed their minds a day after they were verified, no one agreed to return under these conditions, in line with the demands of the main body representing the displaced population: the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum has said it wants a bigger rehabilitation package than the one on offer, and that they should be resettled in a cluster of habitations under armed security.
Although the attempt to carry out the repatriation process was largely peaceful in the camps, Tripura Police arrested a security officer accompanying Mizoram officials at Kanchanpur town, near where the camps are located, after a minor road accident resulted in a crowd encircling the team of officials. Several officials were also detained following the incident.