Bru refugees to launch indefinite road blockade tomorrow

Bru refugees to launch indefinite road blockade tomorrow

Agency News

Agartala, Oct 30 : In an ultimatum to the Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb, the Bru refugees have said they would go on an indefinite road blockade in Kanchanpur along Mizoram from Thursday unless the ration supply is re-stated to the Bru inmates staying in six camps there.

The ration supply to 4,447 Bru displaced families lodged in relief camps at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura was discontinued from this month following direction of the Union Home Ministry. The Bru organisations had several meetings with the state government, including one in the presence of the home ministry officials, but the deadlock over refugee repatriation continued.

In a memorandum to North Tripura district magistrate Ravel H Kumar, Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples' Forum (MBDPF) declared that the inmates would resort to indefinite road blockade between Dasda and Anand Bazaar in North Tripura from October 31.
It further said that the Home Ministry's decision to stop the ration while executing the process of repatriation from October 3 to November 30 is unconstitutional and blatant violation of human rights. The memorandum questioned the government's stance, when the deadline of repatriation was set till November.

Currently, every adult Bru living in a camp gets Rs 3.50 in cash and 600 grams of rice per day, while each minor receives Rs 2.50 in cash and 300 grams of rice per day while they get clothes in every three years. “Initially, we were managing with whatever little stock of food and cash was left with us. For the last one week starvation has been looming large in the camps. We are not even able to provide food to the children. Since early this month, we have been expecting a reasonable solution of the problem and in the last week there was a meeting with MHA officials over the issue but there was no solution ,” said Bru leader Bipin Kumar Mesa.

Earlier, in a letter addressed to North Tripura District Magistrate by Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum and Mizoram Bru Indigenous Democratic Movement warned, “…there will be a number of casualties due to starvation in the next few days due to suspension rations and cash-dole. 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 for their survival.”

According to Central government's decision, all Bru refugees have to be repatriated in selected locations of Western Mizoram by next month and accordingly supply of ration and all other aids have been discontinued by the district magistrate which had been given since 1997. A total of 178 Bru families have been repatriated since the ninth round of the exercise termed as the “final” repatriation, which began on Oct 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 it was re-started due to Mizoram assembly election.

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.

So far, eight attempts have been made to repatriate the Brus and only around 1,681 families have returned to Mizoram and settled in Mamit, Kolashib and Lunglei districts since 2010.(UNI)