There are total 27,261 Bru refugees from Mizoram in six relief camps in north Tripura district as per a headcount completed on Wednesday.
The head count exercise was undertaken as per the instruction of the Mizoram government, which is regarded as the first step in the effort to repatriate all Bru refugees this year following instructions of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram that it be completed by October end.
Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), which undertook the exercise said the relief camps were located at Kanchanpur sub division in north Tripura district and the refugees were classified into two groups those who migrated en masse in 1997 and those in 2009.
Elvis Chorkhy, MBDPF president told PTI over phone Brus who fled Mizoram in the wake of communal tension triggered by the murder of a forest guard inside Dampa Tiger Reserve in October 1997 by erstwhile Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) militants were 26,102 in number, including 5,090 minors and belonging to 5,180 families.
Those who left Mizoram in November 2009 after a similar incident at Bungthuam village, three days before the proposed repatriation schedule for the refugees, were 1,159 people including 242 minors and belonging to 241 families.
Around 240 families who fled Mizoram in November 2009 have already returned in May end.
“We did not include refugees coming to Tripura from Assam,” he said adding Bru militants who surrendered to the Mizoram government were also not included.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who visited Aizawl on May 25 asked the Bru leaders to ensure that all refugees were repatriated to Mizoram and said he would visit Mizoram again to oversee the repatriation process.