50,000 displaced Rabhas and Garos facing discrimination

Guwahati Press Club: The Asian Centre for Human Rights at a press conference today stated that about 50,000 Garos and Rabhas displaced by conflicts since 01 January 2011 are being discriminated in terms of relief and rehabilitation in comparison to assistance being provided to the Kashmiri Pandits and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees by the Government of India.

In terms of rations at the relief camps, at Jammu and in Delhi, Kashmiri internally displaced person are given Rs.1000/- per head per month subject to maximum of Rs.4000/- per family per month plus dry ration. The Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India are provided cash dole of Rs.400 per head of family, Rs.288 for each additional member who is 12 year-old, Rs.180 per first child (below 12 years) and Rs.90 to each of additional children per month. Further, they are provided 400 grams per adult and 200 grams per child per day at the subsidized rate of Rs.057 per kilogram.

“However, the displaced Rabhas and Garos are not being any regular assistance. On 19 January 2011, one Monitha Rabha, a mother of three children died of starvation at Kahmari Primary School medical school.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

In terms of rehabilitation, the government of India is building 50,000 houses for the Sri Lankan Tamils displaced in Sri Lanka and has sanctioned Rs 500 crores for this purpose.  Under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction for Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs undertook massive program of housing for the Kashmiri pundits. That included construction of 200 flats at Sheikpura in Budgam at an expenditure of Rs.22.90 crores; construction of 5242 two-roomed tenements at Jammu at an expenditure of Rs.345.00 crores; construction of 18 three-roomed flats at Mattan at an expenditure of Rs.1.08 crore and construction of 100 one-room tenements and renovation work such as Yatri Niwas, rain shelters, fencing of shrine, etc. have been done completed at an expenditure of Rs.7.30 crores at Kheer Bhavani. In Delhi, the Delhi Development Authority, a Central Government Agency had provided expandable flats to 234 Kashmiri IDP families at subsidized rates.

“The Rabhas and Garos are being provided only 3 bundles of tin roof sheet and Rs 10,000 which is highly discriminatory.  Even the Brus from Mizoram are being provided Rs 80,000 cash including housing assistance under Indira Awas Yajona.” – further stated Mr Chakma.

In fact, the Government of Assam has not sought any “Rehabilitation Grant” from the Ministry of Home Affairs for those displaced in the North Kachar Hills in 2009.

The ACHR stated that the discrimination against the Rabha and Garo displaced persons will be taken up with the State Governments and the Centre and other appropriate forums/mechanisms. [Ends]

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