The police in Tripura on Thursday filed cases against at least 35 members of the Bru tribal community from Mizoram for entering the state during the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19, The Telegraph reported on Friday.
Tripura has only one active case of the coronavirus, according to data from the Union health ministry. No deaths have been reported from the state and one person has recovered.
The Brus were charged under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), an unidentified police official told the newspaper. “All the 35 Brus entered Tripura on April 17, violating the lockdown,” he said. “They bypassed all check gates and came through the jungles from Mizoram.”
However, the members of the tribal community may have entered Tripura on April 15 and 16, according to the Hindustan Times. All of them were at the refugees’ Naisingpara camp in Tripura’s North District.
The police said the labourers, working in Aizawl, had informed them about getting approval from a local council in Mizoram, which was not valid for movement during the nationwide lockdown. “We have put them under quarantine at a hostel in Kanchanpur sub-division of the North district,” a senior police officer said.
Following this episode, the police in Tripura have intensified surveillance and deployed additional forces along the border with Mizoram, The Telegraph reported.
In January, representatives of the Bru community, the Centre, and Mizoram had signed an agreement to allow 30,000 displaced members of the tribal community from Mizoram, who have resided as refugees since 1997, to permanently settle in Tripura. The Bru refugees have been living in six relief camps in Tripura after they were forced to escape ethnic violence in Mizoram.