Mizoram: ECI enrolls over 5,600 displaced Bru as permanent voters in Tripura
Bru Refugees in Tripura Credit: File image

Aizawl: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has enrolled over 5,600 displaced Bru tribals from Mizoram as permanent voters in Tripura following their re-settlement in the neighbouring state in accordance with the quadripartite agreement signed in January 2020, an official said on Tuesday.

The enrolled Bru voters, who originally hailed from Mizoram, have taken shelter in Tripura since 1997 and were settled permanently in the neighbouring state as they failed to return to Mizoram during repatriations.

Mizoram joint Chief Electoral Officer David Liansanglura Pachuau said that the names of 1,594 Bru voters from nine assembly constituencies out of 5,600 have been removed from Mizoram electoral roll so far as per the corresponding deletion requests received from the Tripura election department.

Of the 1,594, the names of 93 Bru voters were deleted from the state’s voter list based on scanned forms received from Tripura, he said.

He said that the origin or addresses of the 93 Bru voters could not be identified by the Tripura election department and their deletion from Mizoram electoral roll was done after cross-checking and verification by the Mizoram election department.

The names of the Bru voters removed from the Mizoram voter list included 1,379 from three constituencies in Tripura border Mamit district, 187 from three constituencies in Assam border Kolasib district and 28 others from three constituencies in Bangladesh border Lunglei district, the official said.

Pachuau said that the Bru voters are removed from the state electoral roll once their names appeared on Electoral Roll Officer Net (ERONet) for deletion.

Citing that the pace of deletion requests is quite slow due to several reasons, he urged the Tripura counterpart to expedite the process.

According to the Mizoram election department, as many as 11,759 Bru voters, including 5,751 female voters, who have been allowed to re-settle in Tripura, were enrolled in the Mizoram voter list.

Sources from Tripura said that the process of resettlement of about 35,000 Bru voters is in progress.

Thousands of Bru voters had fled to Tripura following ethnic tension triggered by the murder of a Mizo forest officer by the erstwhile Bru militant in 1997.

Since then they have been living in transit camps for more than two decades. 

The first repatriation attempt in November 2009 was not only scuttled by the murder of a Mizo villager by the Bru militants but also triggered another round of exodus.

The Centre and governments of Mizoram and Tripura had made at least 9 attempts to repatriate the Bru tribals from Tripura between 2009 and 2019. 

On January 16, 2020, the Centre, governments of Mizoram and Tripura and representatives of several Bru organisations signed an agreement, according to which over 35,000 displaced Bru tribals, who failed to return to Mizoram during repatriation, were allowed to re-settle permanently in Tripura.

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