GUWAHATI: The Tripura government on Friday resumed the supply of free ration to an estimated 35,000 displaced Brus who are lodged in six refugee camps in the state.
“Yes, they (refugee camp inmates) have started getting the free ration from today (Friday). They will get it for one month and after that, there will be starvation again in the camps,” Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha told this newspaper.
“They are happy as they will get it for one month. However, their happiness is not 100 per cent. They want the flow of ration not to be disrupted till there is a solution,” he said.
The supply of free ration was suspended abruptly from October 1 at the instruction of central government and amidst a process for repatriation of the refugees to Mizoram. The process began in October and the deadline for its expiry is November 30.
As the “hungry” refugees went on the warpath by blocking a major road in protest against the suspension of ration, Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma visited the refugee camps on Thursday and made an announcement on the resumption of ration. He also said that he had invited the Bru leaders for talks to find out a formula of repatriation.
Four camp inmates, including an infant, died within a few days recently and the MBDPF had claimed the cause of deaths was starvation. Later, the authorities had sent two bodies for post-mortem. Msha said the Tripura government had not yet disclosed the reasons behind the deaths.
“The relatives of one of the deceased persons told me the post-mortem report would be made available after three months,” he said.
He said the demands of the refugees were “very simple”.
“They want to live in some compact areas of Mizoram with security. They also want that there are some special projects that will take care of them. If these are not accepted by the government, I feel they will not like to go back to Mizoram,” the MBDPF leader added.
Over 40,000 Brus had fled to Tripura from Mizoram in 1998 in the wake of their riots with the Mizos. In the past month or so, 100 of the near 5,000 refugee families returned to Mizoram.