Nine days after ration was stopped to Bru relief camps in North Tripura district — home to 32,000 Bru migrants from Mizoram for the past 22 years — the state government Tuesday restored the supplies.
In a letter to North Tripura District Magistrate Raval Hamendra Kumar, Additional Revenue Secretary LT Darlong said the assistance provided to Bru migrants was being extended till March 2020.
A copy of the letter, made available to indianexpress.com, reads, “…the state government has decided to continue rstion including cash dole to the Bru migrants from the month of November 2019 to March 2020 vide U.O. No. 5288/CM/2019 dated 07.12.2019”.
Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate Abhedananda Baidya confirmed he had received the order from the state. “We have got the letter. Supplies will be provided to the camps at the earliest,” the official said.
The Centre suspended ration supply to the six Bru camps on October 1 this year, after some Brus refused to return to Mizoram, demanding a different repatriation package. Six persons died in the camps over the next few days, prompting the state government to resume supplies from November 7.
The state supplies were scheduled to continue till November 30, and accordingly, food was halted from December 1. But nine days later — for the second time this year and thrice in the last two years — the state government announced resumption.
Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha thanked BJP-IPFT government for the decision. “We thank the state government for resuming supplies. But we want a permanent solution. If there is no chance of returning to Mizoram, staying in camps permanently is not a good future. If the central and state governments agree, we may have to settle in Tripura,” Msha told this correspondent.
His comments come in reference to a letter by Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, for permanently resettling Brus in Tripura with a similar package as offered for repatriation to Mizoram.
A similar proposal was mooted by Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma, who went on to propmise that he would purchase land and donate it for settling Brus in Tripura if the state failed to work out a solution.
Nearly 37,000 people of Bru community fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram during ethnic clashes in 1997. They have been living in six relief camps in North Tripura ever since. In nine phases of repatriation, over 5,000 have returned but 32,000 still live in camps in Tripura. As many as 844 migrants from 171 families returned to Mizoram during the ninth phase of repatriation, that continued till November 30 this year.