The Centre on Monday asked displaced Bru families living in relief camps in Tripura to return to Mizoram as their free ration and subsistence allowance of Rs 5 per person will be revoked from October 1. Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary (North East) Satyendra Garg said the tribe’s leaders will submit a list of those who want to be repatriated to the Centre and Mizoram government.

Officials from the Mizoram home department, the state police and Union government along with civil society leaders and representatives from the relief camps discussed the situation on Monday. An unidentified official said the transportation cost for repatriated families will be borne by the Mizoram government.

On July 3, the Centre, state governments of Mizoram and Tripura and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum had signed a landmark agreement on the repatriation of members of the Bru tribe to Mizoram.

According to the agreement, 5,407 families staying in temporary camps in Tripura were to be repatriated to Mizoram before September 30. A committee under Special Secretary (Internal Security) was to coordinate the implementation of this agreement.

On July 16, the Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum withdrew from the agreement citing that the terms agreed upon between the governments of Mizoram, Tripura, and the Ministry of Home Affairs were not acceptable to them, The Indian Express reported.

Since the agreement, only three families have relocated to Mizoram, an official told PTI.

Exile and repatriation

The Brus, also referred to as the Reangs, are spread across the northeastern states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram. In Mizoram, they are largely restricted to the districts of Mamit and Kolasib. The first signs of a conflict between the Brus and the Mizos, the majority tribe of the state, emerged in 1995.

In 1997, the murder of a Mizo forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram’s Mamit district allegedly by Bru militants led to a violent backlash against the community, forcing about 37,000 to flee to neighbouring Tripura.