A Bru woman at a refugee camp in Tripura. File photo: Panna Ghosh

The Central Government has extended supply of food grain and other relief supplies to the Bru refugees of Mizoram taking shelter in six relief camps in Tripura for over 21 years for another two-and-a-half-months.

Reports quoting Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate Abeda Nanda Baidya stated that the Union Home Ministry has extended the deadline for repatriation of tribal refugees from Tripura to Mizoram till March 31, adding that relief supplies would continue till that time.

Baidya said following the appeal of the refugees, the Central Government had initially agreed to resume the supply of free rations and relief material to the refugees from October 22 last year which was to end on Wednesday.

It may be recalled that following a four-party agreement in Delhi last July, the supply of food and other relief material was stopped from October 1, ostensibly to compel the refugees to return to their villages in Mizoram.

Notably, over 35,000 Bru tribals, comprising 5,907 families, fled from Mizoram and have been staying in seven relief camps in northern Tripura’s Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions since October 1997 following ethnic tension after a Mizo forest official was killed in Mizoram.

Meanwhile, the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), the apex body of the refugees, has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Joint Secretary (North-East) Satyendra Garg to extend their relief and other assistance until they returned to their homes in Mizoram.

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