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Brus demand resumption of ration, threaten roadblock from


Press Trust of India Aizawl/Agartala
An organisation of Bru refugees on Tuesday threatened to launch an indefinite roadblock from Thursday demanding resumption of free ration and cash-dole to the 35,000 displaced people living in relief camps in Tripura.
The Centre has not supplied ration and cash dole to the refugees for October while the repatriation process of the displaced Bru people is still on.
Altogether 4,447 Bru displaced families, lodged in the relief camps at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura district, are scheduled to return to neighbouring Mizoram from where they had fled since 1997 following ethnic clashes.
"The hungry and desperate displaced Brus could no longer merely watch the incessant crying of innocent children, bed-ridden patients and lactating mother for food," Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF) wrote to North Tripura District Magistrate Ravel H Kumar on Tuesday.
The letter was sent to Kumar five days after three Bru organisations had written another letter to him urging the government to "continue free ration and cash-dole until an amicable solution and the repatriation process is concluded."

As there is no response from the government about their demand for resumption of allowances, the Brus are forced to go for an indefinite roadblock between Dasda and Anandabazar in North Tripura district "to draw the attention of the Central Government, State Governments of Tripura and Mizoram from October 31," the letter said.
Anandabazar is known for a prominent market in that area where two large Bru relief camps are located.
"The displaced Brus are bound to repatriate to Mizoram without food," the letter signed by MBDPF general secretary Bruno Msha and president A Sawibunga read.
The Centre had made it clear that the relief camps of Bru refugees in Tripura would be closed down and the displaced persons must be repatriated to Mizoram during the ongoing exercise, Special Secretary (internal security), Ministry of Home Affairs, A P Maheshwari, had said on October 16.
Maheswari, however, did not mention any date when the relief camps would be closed down. The repatriation is scheduled to continue till November 30.
Every adult Bru person living in a camp gets Rs 3.50 in cash and 600 grams of rice per day as allowances, while each minor receive Rs 2.50 in cash and 300 grams of rice per day, official sources said adding that they get clothes in every three years.
The decision to stop the supply of rations amid the repatriation was "unconstitutional and blatant violation of human rights", the two Bru leaders claimed in the letter.
This ninth round of Bru repatriation has been termed as the "final" one by the government.
The Bru community, also called Reangs, is among the 21 scheduled tribes in the country. They are scattered across Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
During the eighth round of repatriation, the Ministry of Home Affairs had warned that the relief camps would be closed down from October one 2018 and free ration and money doled to the displaced families would be discontinued. However, that phase did not bear much fruit.
While the MHA did stop the free ration and cash dole from October one, 2018, the Centre restarted it apparently due to political reasons as Mizoram assembly election was nearing.
The Centre has approved Rs 350 crore for the ninth phase of repatriation and the amount covers transportation and rehabilitation package expenses, which include Rs 5,000 per month for each resettled Bru family in Mizoram and free ration for them for two years.
Eight attempts had been made to repatriate the Brus and only around 1,681 families have returned to Mizoram since 2010 and were resettled in Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts.
The vexed Bru problem started when the Bru people, spearheaded by an organisation, Bru National Union, demanded a separate autonomous district council by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura in September, 1997.
The situation was aggravated by the murder of a forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in western Mizoram by Bru National Liberation Front insurgents on October 21, 1997.
The first attempt to repatriate the Brus from Tripura from November 16, 2009 not only fizzled out due to the murder of a Mizo youth at Bungthuam village on November 13, 2009, but also triggered another wave of exodus.

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First Published: Oct 29 2019 | 8:00 PM IST

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