Mizoram polls: 32 rehabilitated Bru refugee families can cast votes in upcoming election, says MHA

The Bru people from Mizoram have been living in six relief camps in Tripura since they fled Mizoram in 1997 following ethnic clashes.

Press Trust of India November 15, 2018 19:35:39 IST
Mizoram polls: 32 rehabilitated Bru refugee families can cast votes in upcoming election, says MHA

New Delhi: Members of 32 families of Bru refugees, who were repatriated to Mizoram, will be able to cast their votes in the coming Assembly elections in the state, officials said Thursday.

As many as 19 families were rehabilitated in Lunglai district in Mizoram after their repatriation from Tripura, 11 families were settled in Mamit district and two in Kolasib district of the state in the past two months.

Mizoram polls 32 rehabilitated Bru refugee families can cast votes in upcoming election says MHA

Representational image. Reuters

"The total number of people in these families is around 150 and those who are eligible among them can cast their votes in the polls," a home ministry official said.

Mizoram goes to polls on 28 November.

The Election Commission Thursday appointed IAS officer Ashish Kundra as Mizoram's new chief electoral officer, replacing SB Shashank in accordance with the demand of some civil society groups.

The groups were asking for Shashank's ouster over a row on allowing Bru voters lodged in Tripura relief camps to exercise their franchise from there.

The agitation against Shashank was launched a fortnight back with the NGO Coordination Committee, the apex body of civil societies, and students' organisations in the north-eastern state, demanding that the officer be replaced as chief electoral officer and transferred outside the state.

It also demanded that Bru voters in six Tripura relief camps be allowed to exercise their franchise at their respective polling stations in Mizoram and not in Tripura as committed by the poll panel in 2014.

The agreement to repatriate the total 32,876 people belonging to the Bru community, who have been living in relief camps in Tripura was signed by the Centre and the governments of Mizoram and Tripura on 3 July.

The Bru people from Mizoram have been living in six relief camps in Tripura since they fled Mizoram in 1997 following ethnic clashes.

Mizoram civil society organisations have opposed the Election Commission's decision to conduct electoral revision of Bru voters in Tripura relief camps in the past too.
They urged the EC to disenfranchise all Bru voters who chose to stay back in Tripura and did not return to Mizoram.

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