A four-month-old baby died on Monday allegedly of starvation in a Bru refugee camp in North Tripura district, PTI reported. With this, so far six people have died after the administration stopped supply of ration in the makeshift camps to comply with the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The refugees continued their indefinite road blockade that started on October 31 between Dasda town and Anandanagar in North Tripura. They were protesting against the Centre’s decision to stop food and cash benefits given to them.

The Tripura government has planned to repatriate all Bru refugees to Mizoram by the end of this year and the ninth phase of repatriation began on October 3.

Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum General Secretary Bruno Msha told PTI that the four-month-old girl identified as Pigili Reang died in Hamsapara relief camp on Monday morning.

Two inmates of Naisingpara relief camp had died on Thursday and three died on Sunday, he said. “Six people died and three persons were hospitalised due to deprivation of free ration and cash-dole by the Centre from October due to the ongoing repatriation scheduled to be concluded on November 30,” Msha said.

Over 32,000 Bru refugees live in six relief camps in Tripura since 1997 after they were forced to run away from ethnic violence in Mizoram. MBDPF Vice President R Dawngliana said they would not stop the road blockade till their demands are met, News18 reported. “The relief was stopped on October 30, whereas the month-long repatriation process that began on October 3 was to end November 30,” he said. “How do we survive for one month?” he asked.

He said 80% of the families were starving and warned of a humanitarian crisis as casualties continued to rise since last week. “We were receiving 600 grams rice per day per head, and half of the quantity went to our children,” Dawngiana said. “We also used to get Rs 5 per day for every adult, while half of that was received in cash by every minor. We don’t have any extra income, and that is why most of the people are starving today.”

Officials said that so far 216 Bru families have returned to Mizoram from the relief camps since October 3.

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