Bru refugees from Tripura casting their votes during the Mizoram assembly elections in November last year

Aizawl: Young Mizo Association (YMA), the largest civil society organisation in Mizoram, has demanded that names of Bru (Reang) voters, who are unwilling to return to Mizoram from Tripura despite repeated appeals, should be deleted from state’s electoral rolls.

The central committee of YMA on Saturday convened an executive meeting at its office over deletion of Bru voters from Mizoram electoral roll, YMA president Vanlalruata said.

He said that the meeting slammed Bru refugees for being reluctant to return to Mizoram despite repeated repatriation attempts.

The meeting unanimously resolved to take measure to ensure that names of Bru voters, unwilling to return to Mizoram, are removed from state’s electoral rolls, he added.

He said that both the state government and civil societies wanted the Bru refugees to come back to their villages in Mizoram.

The YMA president also said that the association is firm on its stand that no Bru related electoral process should be conducted inside relief camps in Tripura.

Before the state assembly polls in November last year, NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella body of all major civil societies and students bodies, had staged state-wide protests against then state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SB Shashank for his alleged “pro Bru” stance, which forced the Election Commission to remove the official.

About 35,000 Bru refugees are still camping at six relief camps in Tripura since they fled Mizoram following ethnic tension triggered by the murder of a Mizo forest guard by Bru militants in 1997.

Several attempts to repatriate them by the government since 2009 have turned futile.

In the last repatriation process between August and September last year, only around 40 out 5,407 families returned to Mizoram after the centre decided to stop dolling out ration to the refugees.

Meanwhile, first time voters of Bru tribals are in dilemma as they are not certain about their inclusion in Mizoram final roll published on Friday.

Bru leaders said they will enquire the matter to state election officials.

State CEO Ashis Kundra had earlier on Friday said that they could not ascertain the exact number of first time voters of Bru refugees as applications were made online and that the election officials are yet to check the list.

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