Out of 460 Bru families which fled Mizoram to Tripura in November last year, 270 returned home as the repatriation process ended on Wednesday.

According to an estimate of Mizoram government, 460 Bru families fled the state to Tripura following the gunning down of a youth by Bru militants near the Mizoram-Tripura border on November 13, 2009.

Mamit Superintendent of Police Dingluaia told PTI over phone that “though the state government estimated that around 460 Bru families left Mizoram during the last part of 2009, many of them returned without the knowledge of the government.

That is why the number of families which returned this time might be less.”

The last batch of 55 Bru families arrived from two Tripura relief camps, Kaskau and Khakchangpara, to their homes in villages in Mamit district on the Mizoram-Tripura border, he said.

The repatriation of the families during May 11 to May 15 faced hiccups with only nine families returning on May 15 after demand was made for payment of Rs. 1,500 in advance for travel expenses.

The repatriation actually began from May 21 after the Tripura government arranged vehicles for their return journey.

On Tuesday, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had expressed satisfaction over the repatriation of Brus and asked the Mizoram government to continue the good work.

Chidambaram also urged the Bru leaders, who met him to ensure that all the refugees lodged in the six relief camps in Tripura since late 1997 to return to Mizoram latest by October so that they would be able to take up jhum cultivation in the state by next year.

Earlier, thousands of Brus fled Mizoram after Lalzawmliana, a forest guard working in the Dampa Tiger Reserve was gunned down near Palsang hamlet by Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) militants in October 1997 which triggered communal tension.

Their repatriation which was to begin on November 16 last year was obstructed as a similar incident resulted in exodus of around 460 Bru families to Tripura.