Aizawl, Jan 18 (PTI) A conglomerate of major civil societies and student bodies Friday demanded that revision of voters’ list among the Bru refugees living in Tripura be conducted only after they return to Mizoram, the state they originally belong to.
Leaders of the NGO Coordination Committee placed the demand at a meeting with the Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ashish Kundra here.
“Our stance is clear. Revision of voters’ list for Mizoram should be conducted only inside the state, and for the Brus, only after their return to Mizoram,” NGO Coordination Committee Chairman Vanlalruata said after the meeting.
He said the CEO informed them about instructions from the Election Commission (EC) to conduct revision of electoral rolls in the Bru relief camps in North Tripura district.
Vanlalruata said the Committee would hold a meeting about the the EC’s instruction.
“We discussed the modalities of Bru voters for parliamentary elections,” the CEO said, adding that the meeting was held in a spirit of mutual understanding.
Kundra told PTI that he thanked the Committee leaders for their support during the election to the state legislature held on November 28 last.
The meeting between the Committee and Kundra was held after an umbrella organisation of the Bru refugees living in six relief camps in Tripura urged Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to direct the Mizoram election department to revise electoral rolls in the relief camps.
The Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) also appealed to Arora to to set up polling stations for the Lok Sabha election in their relief camps.
Following an order of the EC, the Mizoram election department in August last year had conducted revision of voters lists of Bru refugees in their camps, despite opposition from the civil societies.
Later, enlistment forms duly filled in by inmates of the relief camps were stolen at the election office of Mizoram’s Mamit district on August 23, two days before the month-long repatriation of Bru families from Tripura to Mizoram was to start from August 25.
However, out of 5,000 odd refugee families, only 150 members of 42 families returned to Mizoram during the month- long exercise.
Thousands of Bru refugees from Mizoram fled to Tripura during an ethnic violence in 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, was repatriating the displaced Brus in phases.
Though several Bru families have returned to Mizoram over the years, many refused to leave Tripura citing security reasons and inadequate package.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.