Twenty-five days after food and ration supplies were stopped in Bru relief camps of Tripura, migrants living in transit camps threatened the government that they will block the main road and loot government food godowns if supplies are not resumed.
In a letter to North Tripura District Magistrate, Raval Hamendra Kumar, three Bru migrant bodies – Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF), Mizoram Bru Indigenous Democratic Movement (MBIDM) and Bru Tribal Development Society (BTDS) said, “The decision of the MHA to stop the relief facilities is unconstitutional and violation of human rights….”.
Ration supplies, cash dole and other benefits were halted to six Bru relief camps in North Tripura district after September 30 this year as they refused to return to Mizoram.
This is the third time food supplies were halted for Bru camps in last two years, allegedly an increasingly popular tactics for Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), each time Brus decline to return.
The letter also says that there will be casualties due to starvation in the next few days in the Bru camps, “…..as it is already 24 days that the rations and cash-dole (have been stopped). (They) do not have any alternative option but to block the main road, looting of government godowns etc. for their survival.”
Around 37,000 people from Bru communities fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram during ethnic clashes in October 1997. They were sheltered in six relief camps in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura district.
In eight subsequent phases of repatriation, nearly 5,000 refugees went back to Mizoram. But many among them returned to Tripura complaining of poor living standards and insecurity. Around 350 have returned so far in the 9th phase which is still continuing. However, only a handful of Brus have returned to Mizoram in the last week as empty vehicles are found returning from the camps.
As per government records, 32,000 Brus still live in six relief camps in Tripura’s north district.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Abhedananda Baidya informed that the local authorities were alerted about a possible law and order situation and they were sensitized to tackle the situation.
According to a relief package announced by the Government of India six months after Bru tribals’ arrival in Tripura in 1997, 600 grams of rice is provided to every adult Bru person living in the camps each day and 300 grams of rice is allotted daily for minors. The package also has provisions for cash dole of Rs. 5 per adult per day, Rs. 2.5 for every minor in a day, a soap in one year, a pair of slippers every year and a mosquito net in every three years.