Hungry and homeless Brus threaten to loot Govt godowns as Centre scraps essential relief
The displaced Bru families settled in the relief camps have threatened to loot government godowns for their survival as their ration supplies and cash benefits have been halted since the last 24 days.
The Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), Mizoram Bru Indigenous Democratic Movement (MBIDM) and Bru Tribal Development Society (BTDS) wrote a letter to the Kanchanpur Sub Divisional Magistrate Abhedananda Baidya on Thursday saying that the decision taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to stop relief facilities is ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘violation of human rights as the repatriation process started from October 3.
As per the instructions of the MHA, supplies of ration and cash benefits to the Bru camps were stopped since October 1, two days before the repatriation began.
“ ... there will be a number of casualty due to starvation in next few days as it is already 24 days that the rations and cash-dole has been stopped. The hungry and desperate camp’s inmates do not have any alternative option but to block the main road, looting of Government Godowns,etc. for their survival,” the letter reads.
The Bru displaced persons requested the administration to forward the letter to the Centre to withdraw the decision and to continue rations and cash dole till there is an amicable solution and completion of the repatriation process.
“We would like to request your esteem-self to treat this application as most urgent matter and take immediate favourable action to avoid dead of displaced persons due to starvation which can further lead to the breakdown of the law and order situation in the area,” the letter concluded.
MHA special secretary (Internal Security) AP Maheshwari in a meeting held with the Tripura and Mizoram government officials and Bru community leaders in Agartala on October 17 said that no Bru camp could continue in the state anymore.
“The Brus threatened to loot government godowns through a letter. The letter has been forwarded to district magistrate office. The entire administration has been alerted regarding this,” said Abhedananda Baidya.
According to the central rehabilitation package, Bru adults are given Rs. 5 per day, Rs. 2.5 for each minor, 600 gram of rice on an everyday basis, three soaps, a pair of slippers a year and a mosquito net in every three years.
Over 37,000 Bru people had taken shelter in Tripura to escape an ethnic clash in Mizoram in 1997.
Currently, nearly 4,000 Bru families are settled in six camps - three each at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub divisions of North district, around 200 kilometres from Agartala.
Over 80 Bru families have been repatriated since October 1 from the six camps.
After more than two decades, the Centre had signed a pact with Tripura and Mizoram governments and MBDPF, a forum comprising of Bru people in New Delhi on July 3 last year for repatriation of the refugees.
The post repatriation agreement promised Rs 4 lakh as fixed deposit, Rs 5,000 for a period of two years with Rs. 1.50 lakh for construction of house to each family and formation of cluster village for the displaced Brus.