GUWAHATI: The Centre has withdrawn the supply of free ration and cash-dole to the displaced Brus as they refused to return to Mizoram.
A process for their repatriation had begun on October 3 and it expired on November 30.
The Centre had earlier warned that the supply of free ration and payment of daily cash allowances would be suspended if the refugees refuse to return to Mizoram by November 30.
An estimated 35,000 Brus were lodged in six refugee camps in Tripura and over the past two months, a little over 1,000 had gone back to Mizoram.
Every adult refugee gets Rs.3.50 and 600 grams of rice per day as allowances.
For each minor, it is Rs.2.50 and 300 grams of rice.
“The spectre of starvation looms large as the ration was discontinued from the day before yesterday (November 30). Over 32,000 people are still lodged in the camps,” Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha told this newspaper.
He said the MBDPF had recently written to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs requesting it to continue with the free ration and cash-dole but it did not respond.
“We have not yet decided on our next course of action. We will sit in the next 2-3 days and formulate our strategy to resolve the problem. If need be, we will organise a public meeting,” Msha said.
This is the second time that the Centre has discontinued the ration and cash allowances.
After it was suspended last month, the refugees had gone on the warpath by blocking a major road for several days.
This had made the Tripura government to intervene and resume the supply to the camps.
Last month, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah expressing the willingness to retain the refugees in the state.
Tripura’s royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, who resigned as state Congress chief recently, had insisted that the displaced Brus be provided land by Tripura government so that they could continue to live in the state.
“If you can accept lakhs and lakhs of people from another country (read Bangladesh), then why can’t you accept the Brus who were natives of Tripura until being displaced by the Dumbur hydro-electric plant,” Debbarma had argued.
Over 40,000 Brus had fled to Tripura from Mizoram in 1997 in the wake of their clashes with Mizos.