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Bru refugees to stage road blockade
Correspondent
 AIZAWL, Oct 29 - Bru refugees lodged in six relief camps in northern Tripura have decided to stage an indefinite road blockade between Dasda and Anandabazar from October 31 to protest against the Centre’s discontinuation of rations to the refugee camps.

In a letter to the district collector of North Tripura district today, the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) informed of its decision to stage the road blockade, stating that “the spectre of starvation is looming large over the displaced Brus due to the discontinuation of rations and cash dole from October, 2019 onwards”.

The letter stated that the halt to the supply of rations at a time when the repatriation process is on (from October 3 to November 30) is “unconstitutional and blatant violation of human rights”.

“So, the displaced Brus are bound to repatriate to Mizoram without food fearing to face acute starvation in relief camps as the rations and cash dole has been stopped from October 2019, whereas the whole repatriation process is to be continued till November 30,” the letter added.

The MBDPF also alleged that the ongoing repatriation, which the Government said would be final, is “forceful” as the Government has “ignored the security and simple demands of the Bru refugees”.

The MBDPF said as its plea to resume the rations supply was not heeded to by the Centre, the “hungry and desperate Bru refugees can no longer withstand to see the incessant crying of innocent children, bedridden patients and lactating mother for food, and such a horrible situation bound all the displaced Brus to block the said road to draw the kind attention of the central government, state government of Tripura and Mizoram”.

Only 190 families of Bru refugees have so far returned to Mizoram in the ongoing final round of repatriation.

An official of the Mizoram Home Department said that five members belonging to one Bru family from the Kaskau relief camp in Tripura returned to Mizoram on Saturday on their own.

According to him, many Bru families returned to Mizoram on their own even after the Bru leaders served a diktat against their return. Though many Bru families are willing to return to Mizoram and have accepted the repatriation package decided in the meeting of the joint monitoring group on Bru repatriation held in New Delhi on July 3, they are afraid to do so due to the diktat of the Bru leaders, the official added.

As many as 4,410 Bru families were identified as bona fide residents of Mizoram during the identification conducted in July.

The Bru families at six relief camps in Tripura had earlier staged rallies to protest against the ongoing repatriation, blocked Mizoram officials and submitted memorandums to the Centre on several occasions. The Bru people have raised new demands, stating that the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mamit district of Mizoram should be prepared for settlement of the repatriated Bru families. The ongoing repatriation is scheduled to be completed by November 30.

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