Updated: November 4, 2019 8:27:18 pm
Two more infants have died in Bru relief camps in Tripura’s North district, raising the death toll to six in the past five days.
As many as 32,000 Bru migrants, who fled ethnic disturbances in Mizoram’s Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts, have been living in six relief camps at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura for the past 22 years. From October 1 this year, the Government of India stopped food supplies and cash dole being provided to the camps, after some migrants refused to return to Mizoram. Six people have died since then.
Neither the state government nor the Centre has come out with any clear statement on why these deaths have occurred.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha said that while four people had been reported dead at Naisingpara camp till Sunday, according to latest reports, two more infants have died.
Naisingpara is the largest of all the Bru camps in Tripura. Apart from it, Brus live in Ashapara Hazacherrra, Hamsapara, Kaskau and Khakchang camps. Some of these are located right across the Tripura-Mizoram inter-state boundary.
“Ojitrai, a three-month-old, died late night at Naisingpara camp on Sunday. Pigili Reang, a four-month-old, died at Hamsapara camp on Monday. At least three people have fallen face-down out of exhaustion due to shortage of food. They are being treated at local hospitals,” Bruno claimed.
While North Tripura District Magistrate Raval Hamendra Kumar could not be reached for comments, Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate Abhedananda Baidya said, “We have heard about these deaths. We can’t comment on this now. Inquiry is underway. The report is yet to come.”
Meanwhile, the migrants have been holding an indefinite road blockade at Dasdsa-Anandabazaar area in North Tripura for the past five days. The local administration has tried to lift the blockade, but in vain.
A host of NGOs, philanthropic bodies and the Tripura royal family have come together to help the migrants.
Watch: Tripura’s Bru migrants ask: ‘Where is Right to Food?’ pic.twitter.com/EntBLDhQxH
Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Devvarman told indianexpress.com: “We have become refugees in our own land and it hurts me… the situation of my Bru/Reang people is grave….”.
“….if India can accept lakhs of people from Bangladesh through the citizenship amendment Bill, why can’t our Reang/Bru people be accommodated in Tripura from Mizoram”? he questioned.
Borok People Human Rights Organization (BPHRO) chief Anthony Debbarma criticised the central government for stopping the food given to the camps, saying the move grossly violated human rights.
Mizoram Rajya Sabha MP Ronald Sapa Tlau, who visited Tripura today, told indianexpress.com that the Government of India should immediately send a fact-finding team to the Bru camps to assess the reality from ground zero.
“I don’t recommend a new ADC, judging from our experience with three existing ADCs in Mizoram. That’s not the solution”, MP Sapa Tlau said.
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