October 3, 2018 3:50:19 am
Uncertainty stares at Bru refugees at the six relief camps in Tripura with the suspension of government assistance from October 1. Bru refugees in Tripura received free ration and subsistence allowance — around 600 grams rice and Rs 5 per day per person.
As per an agreement signed among the governments of Mizoram and Tripura and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) on July 3 this year for repatriation of nearly 32,000 Bru tribals in Tripura, who were displaced from Mizoram following ethnic clashes, the stipulated one-month period for repatriation ended on September 25 and relief doled out by the government was scheduled to be stopped from October 1.
According to government data, only around 180 Bru people have repatriated during the stipulated one-month period.
“Assistance to the camps have been stopped from October 1. Adequate steps, including deployment of security forces, have been taken to prevent any law and order situation,” Raval Hamendra Kumar, District Magistrate and Collector of North Tripura, said.
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Panisagar SDM, L Darlong, said the government assistance was given on a monthly basis and hence the refugees may not face any scarcity immediately.
T Laldingliana, president of the newly formed Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Coordination Committee (MBDPCC), told The Indian Express that the people at the relief camps have not faced any acute shortage in the last two days. “As of now, there are stocks in our homes. From Wednesday, we will hold meetings to decide the future course of action. Let’s wait and see how things unfold,” Laldingliana said.
He added that majority of Bru refugees would consider repatriating when their demands — like formation of area development council in their villages in Mizoram, allotment of at least 5 hectares of land to each family, formation of model villages with at least 500 families and more financial assistance to each family — were met. These demands were left out of the July 3 agreement.
There was uncertainty over the entire process after the MBDPF had withdrawn from the tripartite agreement, saying the terms were not acceptable to the Bru community.
The tripartite agreement had assured a rehabilitation package, including a financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh in the form of a fixed deposit for each family, cash assistance of Rs 5,000 per month for two years, Rs 1.5 lakh as house building assistance and free ration for two years.
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