The Bru refugees of Mizoram, who are presently lodged in six relief camps of Tripura for over two decades and who were on the verge of repatriation, have urged the Centre to resume relief that has been stopped for the past 10 days.
With the repatriation of 32,876 refugees from Tripura to Mizoram still hanging in balance, the Central Government had stopped providing free ration from October 1.
The move was aimed at forcing them to return to their villages in Mizoram from where they had fled 21 years back.
The Bru refugees, comprising 5,407 families, have been staying in Tripura’s Kanchanpur and Panisagar since October 1997 following ethnic tension in that year.
“The refugee leaders under the banner of Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh have urged the Centre to restart the supply of relief,” a North Tripura District Administration official said on Wednesday.
The five-page letter signed by 14 refugee leaders, was sent to Modi and Singh through North Tripura District Magistrate Raval Hamendra Kumar.
Refugee leader and MBDPF General Secretary Bruno Msha said the refugees were willing to return to their villages in Mizoram but nine most basic and vital issues must be resolved before the repatriations.
These include opening of bank accounts (only 44 bank accounts have been opened out of the required 5,500), issuing of Aadhaar cards (only 40 per cent refugees have the same at present), distribution of ration cards, enrolment of the refugees’ names in Mizoram’s electoral lists, and identification of villages where these refugees would be settled post-repatriation.
“The refugees are now on the verge of starvation as their food supply and other essentials that were provided by the North Tripura district administration on September 29 and 30, are going to end in a day or two,” the letter further stated.
“Hunger-stricken people might hold protest rallies, block roads, loot nearby food go-downs to save their children and family members. The situation could deteriorate fast if the supplies are not immediately replenished,” it added.