Refugee kids along with others stage blockade demanding resumption of free ration
Refugee kids along with others stage blockade demanding resumption of free ration
Photo Credit: Twitter

Aizawl: A two-year-old boy and a woman died in a Bru relief camp prompting the refugees to stage road blockade in the area in Tripura bordering Mizoram for the third consecutive day on Saturday, demanding resumption of free ration and cash-dole to them, officials said.

Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF) alleged that the two died of "starvation" after the Centre "stopped providing free ration and cash-dole" to the inmates of the relief camps from last month following commencement of the ninth and final repatriation process from October 3. Its scheduled to be completed by November 30.

Kanchanpur Sub-divisional Magistrate- Abhedananda Baidya- confirmed death of an infant and a 60-year-old woman in the Naisingpara relief camp, but said the "cause of the deaths has not been ascertained". An inquiry into the deaths is underway, the SDM said.

He refused to comment further on the allegation of the Bru leaders. As per the relief package provided by the Union government, every adult Bru person living in a camp used to get Rs 3.50 in cash and 600 grams of rice per day, while a minor received Rs 2.50 in cash and 300 grams of rice daily.

Clothes were given to them in every three years. Brus have been living in six relief camps in the place in north Tripura bordering Mizoram since 1997. Reang among 21 schedule tribes of Tripura are known as Brus in the neighbouring Mizoram.

MBDPF's vice president R. Laldawngliana told PTI over phone that two-year-old boy, John Chongprengh, and Makoto Reang (60), wife of Binoda Reang, died on Thursday.

He, further, alleged that the refugees informed the authorities and doctors in Gachirampara, about three kilometres from the camp, but they did not come.

"The Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Kanchanpur did not allow the officials to visit the relief camps," the MBDPF leader alleged.

Laldawngliana further claimed that another person identified as Ramjoy Reang (65) of Asapara relief camp has fallen sick since Friday due to starvation.

Protesting against the suspension of the free ration and cash-dole by the government, Bru refugees have been staging road blockade between Dosda in Kanchanpur and Anandabazar area in North Tripura district since Thursday.

The agitation forced the Mizoram government to discontinue the repatriation process. Officials said that 216 Bru families have returned to Mizoram from the relief camps since October 3.

They also alleged that the "anti-repatriation elements have been instigating the agitation and hindering the process". The repatriation process, was undertaken to bring back 4,447 Bru families living in the Tripura relief camps since 1997.

The Centre has approved Rs 350 crore for the ninth phase of repatriation and the amount covers transportation and rehabilitation package expenses, which include Rs 5,000 per month for each resettled Bru family in Mizoram and free ration for them for two years.

The vexed Bru problem started when the Bru people, spearheaded by an organisation, Bru National Union, demanded a separate autonomous district council by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura in September, 1997.

The situation was aggravated by the murder of a forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in western Mizoram by Bru National Liberation Front insurgents on October 21, 1997.

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Free Press Journal