Bru members set to cast vote in Mizoram: CEO

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Aizawl, October 8: Members of the Bru community, currently lodged in six relief camps of Tripura, will be exercising their franchise in Mizoram when it goes to polls on November 28, a top state election department official said Monday.
The tenure of the 40-member Assembly expires on December 15.
“The Election Commission of India (ECI) has instructed officials in the state to make poll arrangements in Mizoram for displaced Bru families,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SB Shashank told reporters here.
The ECI, however, was yet to issue detailed guidelines on the process that needs be followed to move Bru voters to Mizoram for the polling exercise, he said.
“Of the 11,232 Bru voters in Tripura – 8,777 are from Mamit district, along Mizoram-Bangladesh-Tripura border, 1,732 from Kolasib district of the state, along Assam border, and 723 from southern Mizoram’s Lunglei district,” the CEO said.
During the 2013 assembly elections, Bru members were able to cast votes from their respective relief camps. The following year, too, displaced voters had exercised their franchise for parliamentary election from Tripura.
An election department official said on the condition of anonymity that making adequate arrangements for Bru voters to cast votes in their respective polling stations would be a “herculean task”.
He suggested establishing designated polling stations at a border town inside the state for the displaced people.
“Setting up designated polling stations at a border town, like Kanhmun, where Bru voters can exercise their franchise, might be the best bet,” he added.
The voters’ list in six Tripura relief camps were updated recently along with rest of the state amid protests by members of civil societies, who demanded that the process be undertaken after the final repatriation process.
Thousands of Bru refugees from Mizoram fled to Tripura after ethnic violence of 1997. The clashes broke out after a forest official was killed by Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) militants.
The Centre, in association with the governments of Mizoram and Tripura, had been trying to repatriate displaced Brus in phases.
The final repatriation process, however, fizzled out as only around 50 of 5,4007 families shifted to Mizoram between August and September.
Bru members have cited “unsatisfactory repatriation package” as reason for not returning to their home state. (PTI)