Displaced Bru refugees of Mizoram, sheltered in six evacuee camps in Tripura, will be deprived of ration supplies and cash from January 15, if the Union government does not extend its deadline for doling out benefits to them, officials said.
"The state has been providing cash and food to the relief camps as per instructions of the MHA, which had last year halted supplies for a brief period after failing to repatriate the Brus," Abhedananda Baidya, the sub-divisional magistrate of Kanchanpur in North Tripura district, said.
Bruno Msha, the secretary of Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF), said the community, comprising more than 35,000 refugees, was aware of the situation and that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be apprised of the matter soon.
Thousands of Brus had been living in Tripura relief camps since 1997 in the wake of communal tension in Mizoram, triggered by the brutal killing of forest guard Lalzawmliana inside the Dampa Tiger Reserve by militants.
The Centre had embarked on the eighth phase of repatriation of Bru refugees in August, 2018 as per an agreement signed with the leaders of the tribal community. However, the repatriation package was rejected by most refugees, who claimed it was "insufficient".
Only 150 refugees from 42 families returned Mizoram during the exercise.
"The MHA had stopped doling out assistance to the migrants for 21 days from September 30, 2018 after they refused to return Mizoram. The decision was later revised and aid restored till January 15, 2019," Baidya said quoting a letter sent to the Tripura government last year by MHA Joint Secretary Satyendra Garg.
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