Bru refugees threaten to loot food godowns in Tripura

Bru refugees threaten to loot food godowns in Tripura

Agency News

Agartala, Oct 25 : The two organisations of Bru displaced people of Mizoram, presently settled in six camps of North Tripura, in a letter to the district magistrate have threatened to loot food godown if they stop ration supply to the refugees, as decided by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The Bru community, also called Reangs, is among the 21 Scheduled Tribes in the country. The are scattered across Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

The district administration has enhanced security public institutions in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura today besides food godowns in the district following the threat, which complicated the repatriation process of Bru refugees to their homeland and further escalated the situation.

North Tripura district administration has stopped ration supplies and all financial support to Bru refugees living in the camps from this month following direction of MHA that led to starvation like situation in the camps. At present about 21000 odd Bru people belong to 4,447 displaced families are lodged in different camps of the district.

“ Initially, we could manage from whatever little stock of food and cash we had. For last one week starvation looms large in the camps, even we are not able to provide food to the children. Since early this month we have been expecting a reasonable solution of the problem and last week there was a meeting with MHA officials over the issue, but no solution yet,” said Bru leader Bipin Kumar Mesa.

He pointed out that stopping food supply to such a big number of Indian citizens who have been displaced due to inter community conflict was not only a violation of human rights, but a provocation to create public disorder and social chaos. ' No government can undertake such inhuman decision when the grievances of a large section of the people are unaddressed,' he stated.

A joint letter addressed to North Tripura District Magistrate by Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum and Mizoram Bru Indigenous Democratic Movement, warned, “…there will be numbers of casualties due to starvation in the next few days as it is already 24 days that the rations and cash-dole have been stopped. The hungry and desperate camp mates lodging in the relief camps do not have any alternative but to block the main road, looting of government godowns etc for their survival.”

to the decision, all Bru refugees have to be repatriated in selected locations of West Mizoram by next month. Accordingly supply of ration and all other aids have been discontinued by the central government and hence the district magistrate has stopped the supply, which had been given since 1997.

Meanwhile, as per the decision of MHA, the relief camps of Bru refugees in Tripura would be closed down and displaced persons must be repatriated to Mizoram during the ongoing exercise by November this year. Every adult Bru person living in a camp gets INR 3.50 in cash and 600 grams of rice per day as allowances, while each minor receive INR 2.50 in cash and 300 grams of rice per day and also they had been getting clothes in every three years.

A total of 178 Bru families have been repatriated since the ninth round of the exercise, which is termed as the “final” repatriation, began on October 3 last. During the eighth round of repatriation, MHA had warned that the relief camps would be closed down from October last year and free ration and money doled to the displaced families would be discontinued but due to Mizoram assembly election it was re-started.

The Centre has approved INR 350 crore for the ninth phase of repatriation and the amount covers transportation and rehabilitation package expenses, which include Rs 5,000 per month for each resettled Bru family in Mizoram and free ration for them for two years. Eight attempts had been made to repatriate the Brus and only around 1,681 families have returned to Mizoram since 2010 and were resettled in Mamit, Kolashib and Lunglei districts.(UNI)