Bru: blockade on, govt. to impose Sec 144 from Tuesday night
Aizawl, Nov. 5 (PTI): Roadblock by Bru refugees demanding resumption of free ration to them continued for the sixth day, while the Tripura government decided to impose prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC in the area where the displaced people barricaded the road from Tuesday night.
Road communication from Ananda Bazar to Kanchapur via Dasda in North Tripura district has collapsed due to the blockade, an official said.
“Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC would be in force from tonight to ensure that the road is cleared from tomorrow enabling essential commodities and commuters to pass,” Kanchanpur sub-divisional magistrate Abhedananda Baidya told PTI.
An organisation of Bru refugees on October 29 threatened to launch the indefinite roadblock at Anandabazar, known for a prominent market in that area where two relief camps are located. The blockade demanding that the Centre resume supply of cash-dole and free ration to them commenced from October 31.
The Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) had claimed on Monday that six people including babies have died in relief camps since October 29 “because of starvation” after the Centre stopped the supply of ration and cash dole to the 35,000 odd refugees for October.
Tripura government officials, however, said four Bru inmates of the relief camps have died so far and medical teams have been sent there. Mizoram officials on duty at Kanchanpur said on Monday the agitating Brus were not blocking the road targeting trucks carrying essential goods but trying to stop Mizoram officers who are there to repatriate the Bru families.
The decision to stop the supply of rations amid the repatriation of Brus to their homeland Mizoram was “unconstitutional and blatant violation of human rights”, MBDPF general secretary Bruno Msha and president A Sawibunga had said in a letter to the government.
On Tuesday, Msha said the road blockade continued as majority of the people wanted despite.
“The meeting with top Tripura government officials at Kanchanpur on Monday ended in a stalemate as the Tripura government said it does not have the authority to resume free ration and cash-dole,” Msha said.
Three persons who had also been starved are now admitted in a hospital, he said.
Each adult in the relief camps used to get Rs 2.67 and a minor Rs 1.33 a day as cash-dole while the quantity of rice was 450 gm for an adult per day and 225 gm for a minor per day as free ration, official sources said.
The Centre had made it clear that the relief camps of Bru refugees in Tripura would be closed down and the displaced persons must be repatriated to Mizoram during the ongoing exercise, Special Secretary (internal security), Ministry of Home Affairs, A P Maheshwari, had said on October 16.
Over 4,000 Bru displaced families, lodged in the relief camps at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura district, are scheduled to return to neighbouring Mizoram from where they had fled since 1997 following ethnic clashes.
This ninth round of Bru repatriation has been termed as the “final” one by the government.
The Bru community, also called Reangs, is among the 21 scheduled tribes in the country. They are scattered across Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.
During the eighth round of repatriation, the Ministry of Home Affairs had warned that the relief camps would be closed down from October one 2018 and free ration and money doled to the displaced families would be discontinued.
However, that phase did not bear much fruit.
While the MHA did stop the free ration and cash dole from October one, 2018, the Centre restarted it apparently due to political reasons as Mizoram assembly election was nearing.