Bru refugees in Tripura on Thursday withdrew their indefinite road blockade after Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma announced restoration of ration supplies to the makeshift camps, PTI reported.
The refugees had started their road blockade 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 supplies were stopped on October 1 by the administration to comply with the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum General Secretary Bruno Msha told PTI that the strike was called off by the refugees at around 2 pm after the deputy chief minister assured that the Tripura government would resume the daily free ration on Friday.
A delegation headed by Varma met the protestors on Thursday to work out an amicable solution. “The refugees will have to return to their villages in Mizoram,” Varma told IANS. “The future of young generations will be spoiled if they stayed in the relief camps for years.”
Msha said that Varma informed them that a meeting with Bru leaders will be convened in Agartala soon, and if necessary, they will be taken to New Delhi for talks with the central leadership. “They told us they cannot do anything about the ongoing repatriation as it was in the hands of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” he added.
He said a conducive environment has to be created for repatriation.
On Monday, MBDPF said six people have died after alleged starvation in the camps. Tripura government, however, maintained that four Bru inmates died. The refugee leaders had warned of a humanitarian crisis as casualties continued to rise since last week.
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. 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. Officials said that so far 216 Bru families have returned to Mizoram from the relief camps since October 3.
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