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Bru refugees in Tripura say they face humanitarian crisis, threaten blockade

After threatening to loot government godowns, Bru refugees in Tripura on Tuesday announced they would launch an indefinite road blockade at Kanchanpur in the state’s North district from October 31. The blockade would continue till their ration along with cash and dole are resumed, they said.

As per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) instructions, their ration supplies and cash and dole were stopped to the Bru camps since October 1 this year to complete their repatriation to Mizoram.

The Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum (MBDPF) on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to Kanchanpur sub divisional magistrate (SDM) Abhedananda Baidya where they have mentioned about their indefinite road blockade between Dasda and Anandabazaar at Kanchanpur. The refugees claim they are facing a humanitarian crisis.

“ The hungry and desperate displaced Brus can no longer withstand to see the incessant crying of innocent children, bedridden patients and lactating mother for food, and such a horrible situation bound all the displaced Brus to block the said road to draw the kind attention of the Central Government , state government of Tripura and Mizoram from 31st October, 2019 till resumption of ration and cash-dole as earlier,” said the memorandum signed by MBDPF president of A Sawibunga and general secretary Bruno Msha.

The memorandum also termed the ongoing repatriation of Bru refugees to Mizoram as ‘forceful and not peaceful’ as the process has taken place regardless of the safety and security of the Brus and ignoring their minimum demands.

On October 24, the MBDPF, Mizoram Bru Indigeneous Democratic Movement (MBIDM) and Bru Tribal Development Society (BTDS) sent a letter to the North district magistrate through Kanchanpur SDM threatening to loot government godowns and block main road as their ration supplies were stopped two days before the ninth phase of repatriation began on October 3.

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 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 in 1997 to escape an ethnic clash in Mizoram.

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.

First Published in HT

by Priyanka Deb Barman

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