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Rights group alleges bias

Guwahati, Jan. 21: The Asian Centre for Human Rights today said about 50,000 Garos and Rabhas displaced by conflicts recently are being discriminated in terms of relief and rehabilitation in comparison to assistance being provided to Kashmiri pandits and Sri Lankan Tamil refugees by the Centre.

The ACHR said it would take up the matter at national and international fora.

ACHR director Suhas Chakma told reporters in terms of rations at the relief camps in Jammu and Kashmir, internally displaced Kashmiri people are given regular assistance at Rs 1,000 per head per month. This is subject to a maximum of Rs 4,000 per family per month along with dry ration. The Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in India are provided a cash dole of Rs 400 per head in a family, Rs 288 for each additional member who is 12 years old, Rs 180 per first child (below 12 years) and Rs 90 to each additional children per month.

They are also provided 400gm rice per adult and 200 gm per child per day at a subsidised rate of Rs 0.057 per kg.

“However, the displaced Rabhas and Garos are not being given any regular assistance. On January 19, one Monitha Rabha, a mother of three children, died of starvation at Kahmari Primary School,” Chakma said.

Chakma said while housing projects had been undertaken for Kashmiri pandits and Sri Lankan refugees, “the Rabha and Garos are being provided only three 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 Yojana.” He alleged that Dispur has not sought any rehabilitation grant from Centre.

In terms of rehabilitation, the Centre has built 50,000 houses for the Sri Lankan refugees in Sri Lanka and has sanctioned Rs 500 crore for this purpose.

Under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan for Jammu and Kashmir, the ministry of home affairs undertook a massive housing programme for Kashmiri pandits.

That included construction of 5,242 two-roomed tenements at Jammu at an expenditure of Rs 345 crores, construction of 18 three- roomed flats at Mattan at an expenditure of Rs 1.08 crore and construction of 100 one-room tenements.

The plan also included renovation work for Yatri Niwas, rain shelters, fencing of shrine and others and have been completed at an expenditure of Rs 7.30 crores at Kheer Bhavani.

In Delhi, the Delhi development authority, a central government agency had provided flats to 234 Kashmiri IDP families at subsidised rates.

“On the other hand, the Rabha and Garos are being provided only three 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 Yojana,” Chakma added.

Chakma also said, “The Assam government has not sought any rehabilitation grant from the ministry of home affairs of the Union government for those displaced in the North Kachar Hills district in 2009.”

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