Dy CM assures Brus of resumption of ration; refugees lift blockade after 8 days


Agartala/Aizawl, October 7: Following assurance from Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Debverma that the state government would resume supply of free ration to them, Bru refugees living in relief camps withdrew the road blockade on Thursday, eight days after they started it.
The displaced people launched an indefinite roadblock at Anandabazar, known for a prominent market, at Kanchanpur from October 31 demanding resumption of cash-dole and free ration to them. The Centre has stopped it from October after repatriation of the Brus to their homeland Mizoram started.
“The Bru people withdrew their road blockade after meeting the deputy chief minister and other ministers and leaders. They were promised that the state government would resume their free ration,” Kanchanpur sub-divisional magistrate Abhedananda Baidya said.
A team headed by Debverma met the displaced people on Thursday to find out an amicable solution as road communication from Ananda Bazar to Kanchapur via Dasda in North Tripura district has collapsed due to the blockade.
“The people called off the road blockade at around 2 PM after the deputy chief minister announced that the Tripura government would resume the daily free ration from Friday,” Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha said.
After meeting senior Tripura government officials, the MBDPF and two other organisations of the Bru refugees living in Tripura on Wednesday said they have withdrawn the blockade on Tuesday afternoon but the people are adamant to continue with the agitation and would lift it after immediate issuance of ration and cash-dole.
The MBDPF had claimed on Monday that six people including babies have died in relief camps since October 29 “because of starvation” after the Centre stopped the supply of ration and cash dole to the 35,000 odd refugees for October.
Tripura government, however, said four Bru inmates of the relief camps have died so far.
Msha said, the deputy chief minister informed them that he would convene a meeting with Bru leaders in Agartala soon and, if required, take them to Delhi to hold talks with the central leadership on the imbroglio.
He said, “They told us they cannot do anything about the ongoing repatriation as it was in the hands of the Ministry of Home Affairs.”
None was repatriated during the past few days because of the agitation of the Brus, officials said.
Msha told reporters at Kanchanpur that mere resumption of cash doles and ration supply are enough and the Mizoram government would have to create a conducive atmosphere for the repatriation.
The MBDPF had earlier said the decision to stop the supply of rations amid the repatriation of Brus to their homeland Mizoram was “unconstitutional and blatant violation of human rights”.
Over 4,000 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 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.
This ninth round of Bru repatriation – scheduled to be continued till November 30 – has been termed as the “final” one by the government.
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.
The Bru community, also called Reangs, is among the 21 scheduled tribes in the country. They are scattered across Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. (PTI)