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Spot verification of Brus in border next week

By The Assam Tribune

AIZAWL, Sept 8 � The Mizoram Government and Mizoram Bru Displaced People�s Forum (MBDPF) would conduct a joint spot verification in Mizoram-Tripura border areas next week and visit several villages in view of the proposed repatriation of Bru refugees from Tripura, official sources said today.

Elvis Chorkhy, President of the MBDPF and also secretary of the Bru Coordination Committee (BCC), has been in Aizawl for two weeks along with the BCC chairman Surjomoni Reang, former president of the erstwhile underground Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) holding discussions on the proposed repatriation of Bru refugees now lodged in six relief camps in North Tripura distrct.

Chorkhy said they have to determine if the villages identified for resettlement would be large enough to accommodate those who wanted to return and whether the lands belonging to the villages would be sufficient for jhum cultivation and other agriculture purposes.

Reacting to the press statement issued yesterday by some Bru refugees who called themselves Bru Displaced Welfare Organisation (BDWO), which said that the refugees would boycott the repatriation plans as the Mizoram Government refused to accept their demands, Chorkhy said that at least 90 per cent of the refugees wanted to return as soon as possible. �We do not think that some people who formed BDWO would be able to influence our people,� he said.

The State Home Secretary Lalmalsawma and other senior officials were in New Delhi to hold talks with the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs tomorrow on the Bru repatriation issue, he said, adding that the spot verification would be undertaken after the officials return to Aizawl.

Hundreds of Brus left Mizoram in 1997 and 2009 when Bru militants murdered two Mizos, a Forest guard in October 21, 1997 and a 17-year-old boy near Bungthuam village on November 13, 2009.

A recent head count conducted by the MBDPF found that there were 31,703 Brus in the relief camps belonging to 5,448 families who are bonafide residents of Mizoram.

The head count and the joint verification by the State Government and the MBDPF were significant as Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, during his visit to Aizawl on May 25 had urged the Bru leaders to ensure that all the Bru refugees returned to Mizoram from Tripura latest by the end of October. � PTI

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