Bru people in a relief camp in Tripura Credit: File mage

Aizawl: NGO Coordination Committee, a conglomerate of major civil societies and student organisations in Mizoram, has asked both the Centre and state government to take initiative to ensure that names of Bru voters lodged at Tripura relief camps are immediately defranchised from the state’s voter list.

A statement issued by the committee said that both the Centre and Mizoram government have made at least nine attempts to repatriate the displaced Bru people from Tripura, which yield little success as majority of them refused to return to Mizoram citing different reasons.

According to the quadripartite agreement signed among the Centre, governments of Mizoram and Tripura and Bru associations on January 16, the Bru families, who are temporarily living in six transit camps, will permanently settle in Tripura, the statement said.

“Since the Bru voters are allowed to settle permanently in Tripura, their names should be immediately deleted from Mizoram’s electoral roll,” the statement signed by NGO Coordination Committee secretary Prof Lalnuntluanga said.

The committee also said that it would continue to take steps to ensure that the Bru voters are defranchised from the state voter list at the earliest.

It also pledged to pursue and look into the quadripartite agreement so that it is fulfilled.

Earlier, Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ashish Kundra had said that a legal process would be undertaken to defranchise the Bru voters from the state’s electoral roll as an agreement allowing the non-repatriated Bru people to settle permanently in Tripura had been inked.

He had said that the deletion process would be undertaken as per “The Representation of the People Act, 1951” once the relief camps are closed down.

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“Action regarding deletion of names of the Bru voters will be taken probably during the next roll revision after following procedure of Representation of the People Act and taking approval from the Election Commission,” he had said.

There were a total of 12,081 Bru voters in six relief camps in Tripura during the Lok Sabha poll in April last year.

During the last phase of repatriation conducted between October and November last year, 1,168 Bru people, comprising of 715 adults and 453 children, belonging to 289 families, returned to Mizoram.

According to election officials, the total number of Bru voters whose names would be removed from the Mizoram’s electoral roll would be more than 11,000 although over 700 adults had returned during the last repatriation.

State home department officials said that at least 11,211 people, including 3,436 children, belonging to 2,498 families have returned to Mizoram during repatriation exercise conducted from 2009 to 2019.

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