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Supreme Court Lawyer Issues Legal Notice to Officials Over Stopping Ration Supply to Bru Refugees

The Ministry of Home Affairs has stopped free ration and cash-dole after repatriation of the Brus to their homeland Mizoram started on October 3.

PTI

Updated:November 13, 2019, 7:08 PM IST
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Supreme Court Lawyer Issues Legal Notice to Officials Over Stopping Ration Supply to Bru Refugees
Supreme Court of India.

Aizawl/Agartala: A Supreme Court lawyer has issued a legal notice to six officials for stopping supply of free ration and cash-dole to Bru refugees living in relief camps in Tripura leading to the "death of six persons", an organisation of the displaced people said on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has stopped free ration and cash-dole after repatriation of the Brus to their homeland Mizoram started on October 3. It is scheduled to continue till November 30.

The Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF) had claimed that six people including babies have died in relief camps since October 29 "because of starvation" after the ration supply was stopped to the 35,000 odd refugees. The Tripura government, however, said four people died and the cause of the deaths was being ascertained.

Advocate Ali Zia Kabir Choudhary sent the legal notice to six officials including Tripura Director General of Police Akhil Kumar Shukla, North Tripura District Magistrate Ravel H Kumar and Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kanchanpur Abhedananda Baidya, MBDPF leaders said.

When asked by PTI, Baidya said he received the notice.

The displaced people had launched a roadblock at Anandabazar, known for a prominent market, at Kanchanpur in North Tripura district from October 31 demanding resumption of cash-dole and free ration to them. Following assurance from Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Debverma to resume supply of free ration, the blockade was withdrawn on October 7.

Baidya said, "The refugees have already started getting free ration."

Every adult Bru person living in a camp gets Rs 3.50 in cash and 600 grams of rice per day as allowances, while each minor receives Rs 2.50 in cash and 300 grams of rice per day, official sources said adding that they get clothes in every three years.

MBDPF general secretary Bruno Msha earlier said mere resumption ration supply are not enough and the Mizoram government would have to create a conducive atmosphere for the repatriation.

The MBDPF had earlier said the decision to stop the supply of rations amid the repatriation of Brus to Mizoram was "unconstitutional and blatant violation of human rights".

MBDPF vice-president R Laldawngliana on Wednesday said they did not prevent any Bru family from returning to Mizoram.

"We only demand that those who want to remain in Tripura should be given the right to do so," he said. 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.

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.

This ninth round of Bru repatriation - scheduled to be continued till November 30 - has been termed as the "final" one by the government.

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.

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