All forms of subsistence allowances, including ration supplies and cash, to Bru refugees in relief camps in Tripura were discontinued on Monday, reported PTI.
A notification to this effect was issued by the sub-divisional magistrate of Panisagar in North Tripura district, Lalnemmemi Darlong, on Saturday. This followed instructions from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on September 25 to do so.
“We have stopped giving ration to the inmates of relief camps as the government decided so,” Darlong told The New Indian Express. “We made an announcement in this regard at all the three relief camps that are within my domain as per the direction of the government.”
Ministry of Home Affairs Special Secretary (internal security) Rina Mitra, Joint Secretary Satyendra Garg and others had said in August that all refugee camps in Tripura will be shut down if the Brus failed to return to Mizoram within September, PTI reported.
“We don’t understand what makes the government stop giving the free ration,” Bru leader Sawibunga said. “This is a violation of human rights. The repatriation process is on. How can so many people be repatriated in such a short time? The Centre must extend the period of repatriation.”
In 1997, the murder of a Mizo forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram’s Mamit district allegedly by Bru militants led to a violent backlash against the community, forcing about 37,000 people to flee to neighbouring Tripura.
Earlier in July, the Mizoram and Tripura governments, the Centre and the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum agreed that 5,407 families, comprising of 32,876 people, staying in temporary camps in Tripura would will be repatriated to Mizoram before September 30. The repatriation process started on August 25 and concluded on September 25.
So far, around 40 families have returned to Mizoram from six relief camps in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions in North Tripura district since August 25, when the repatriation process started. But over 32,000 refugees still live in camps in Tripura.