Aizawl: A two-year-old boy and a woman died in a Bru relief camp in Tripura even as the refugees continued to stage blockade for the third consecutive day on Saturday, demanding the resumption of free ration and cash-dole to them, officials said.
Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF) alleged that the two died of "starvation" after the Centre "stopped providing free ration and cash-dole" to the inmates of the relief camps from last month as the ninth repatriation process has been commenced from 3 October.
Kanchanpur Sub-divisional Magistrate Abhedananda Baidya said that "an infant and a 60-year-old woman" died in the Naisingpara relief camp but the "cause of death has not been ascertained" as an inquiry is being conducted.
He refused to comment further on the allegation of the Bru leaders.
MBDPF's vice president R Laldawngliana told PTI over the phone that two-year-old boy, John Chongprengh, and Makoto Reang (60), wife of Binoda Reang, died on Thursday.
He, further, alleged that the refugees informed the authorities and doctors in Gachirampara, about three kilometres from the camp, but they did not come.
"The Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) and Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Kanchanpur did not allow the officials to visit the relief camps," the MBDPF leader alleged.
Laldawngliana also said that Ramjoy Reang (65) of Asapara relief camp also "fell sick from Friday due to starvation".
Protesting against the suspension of the free ration and cash-dole by the government, Bru refugees continued to stage road blockade between Dosda in Kanchanpur and Anandabazar area in North Tripura district since Thursday.
The agitation forced the Mizoram government to discontinue the repatriation process.
Officials said that 216 Bru families have returned to Mizoram from the relief camps since 3 October and the repatriation is scheduled to be completed by 30 November.
They also alleged that the "anti-repatriation elements have been instigating the agitation and hindering the process".
The repatriation process was undertaken to bring back 4,447 Bru families living in the Tripura relief camps since 1997.
The Centre has approved Rs 350 crore for the ninth phase of repatriation and the amount covers transportation and rehabilitation package expenses, which include Rs 5,000 per month for each resettled Bru family in Mizoram and free ration for them for two years.
The vexed Bru problem started when the Bru people, spearheaded by an organisation, Bru National Union, demanded a separate autonomous district council by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura in September 1997.
The situation was aggravated by the murder of a forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in western Mizoram by Bru National Liberation Front insurgents on 21 October, 1997.
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Updated Date: Nov 02, 2019 18:47:17 IST