Bru refugees block road in Tripura to seek resumption of food supplies
Bru refugees living in six relief camps in Tripura for more than 20 years on Thursday blocked a road to protest the Centre’s decision to stop food and cash benefits to them.
Their ration supplies and cash were stopped from October 1, two days before the beginning of the ninth phase of repatriation, under instruction from the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA).
The Brus blocked the road between Dasda and Anandabazar in Kanchanpur in Tripura’s North district from 5am and continued till 5pm.
“Before going back, they said they would come tomorrow and will continue until their demands are met. During their agitation, no untoward incident has been reported,” said Kanchanpur’s sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Abhedananda Baidya.
The Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum (MBDPF) had submitted a memorandum to Baidya on October 29 announcing their road blockade for an indefinite period from Thursday if their demands were not met.
Earlier, they had threatened to loot government godowns for their survival.
More than 37,000 Bru people had taken shelter in Tripura in 1997 to escape an ethnic clash in Mizoram. Nearly 4000 Bru families live in six camps—three each at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North district, around 200km from state capital Agartala.
After more than two decades, the Centre had signed a pact with Tripura and Mizoram governments and MBDPF, a forum comprising Bru people, in New Delhi on July 3 last year for the repatriation of the refugees.
More than 80 Bru families have been repatriated since October 1 from these six camps. The repatriation process would continue till November 3 this year.
Adult Brus are given Rs 5 per day, minors Rs 2.5, 600 gram of rice every day, three soaps, a pair of slippers a year and a mosquito net every three years under the central rehabilitation package.
The post repatriation agreement also promised Rs 400,000 as fixed deposit, Rs 5000 for a period of two years with Rs 150,000 lakh for the construction of a house to each family and the formation of cluster village.