Facing delay in supply of ration for over 20 days, the Bru tribals living in six refugee camps on Saturday threatened to loot the government godown at Gachiramparan. In a letter to North Tripura District Magistrate CK Jamatia, Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) said, “Ration for the month of April is yet to be distributed, while the due date to receive the ration is generally between 1st-5th of every month.”
“Take immediate steps for distribution of ration, otherwise all the displaced Brus will have to launch a democratic agitation including a blockade of road and looting of nearest Government relief Godown under the banner of MBDPF”, the letter read.
The Bru body warned the state government to take immediate steps for distribution of ration, failing which the displaced Brus would blockade the road and loot nearest government relief godown. “There will be many casualties in the camps due to starvation if the ration is delayed further,” MBDPF general secretary Bruno Msha and president Apeto Sawibunga said, adding that the condition of those living in the camps is fast deteriorating.
MBDPF added that the supplies were being delayed by 10-20 days every month for last 4 years. It added that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sanctioned free ration to the Bru camps till September 31, 2019.
Talking to indianexpress.com, Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Abhedananda Baidya said that the delay was caused due to official formalities as the MHA asked to halt supplies to camps after March 31, 2019. “A new order has extended the ration supplies till September but processing the formalities is taking some time. We hope to release supplies in the camps within a couple of days”, the official said.
Over 37000 Bru tribals fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram during ethnic clashes in 1997. They were sheltered in six major relief camps in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of northern Tripura. Nearly 7000 Brus returned to Mizoram in eight phases of repatriation. However, nearly 5,000 others sought shelter in Tripura in 2009 when fresh clashes broke out. 32,000 Brus still live in six relief camps in Tripura.
A central rehabilitation package granted to Bru migrants living in Tripura in 1998 currently allows Rs. 5 per day and 600 gms of rice to each adult migrant, Rs. 2.50 to each minor, three soaps in a year, one pair of slippers every year and a mosquito net in every three years.
Earlier in 2018, food supplies were halted twice in the Bru camps after they declined to return to Mizoram agreeing to a repatriation package offered by the Government of India.
The repatriation agreement offered each displaced family Rs 1.5 lakh for housing assistance, Rs 4 lakh for sustenance, free ration for 2 years and Rs 5,000 cash assistance per month for 2 years after returning to Mizoram. The one-time cash assistance would be given after three years of uninterrupted stay in Mizoram while housing assistance would be provided in three instalments. The agreement faced the ire among the refugee camps, who demanded cluster villages and an Area Development Council (ADC) for safe stay post-repatriation.