TODAY -

MSU opposes to allowing Brus to cast vote
Source: Hueiyen News Service / NNN

Aizawl, October 27 2013: After an appeal made to Election Commission of India (ECI) and Chief Electoral Officer, Mizoram, by the Mizo Students' Union (MSU) General Headquarters, Jt.

CEO, H Lalengmawia today held interaction with MSU leaders at his office over the students' body vehemently opposing the provision of allowing Bru refugees to cast vote outside Mizoram in the forthcoming State Assembly election.

Leaders of the students' body said that they find it difficult to comply with the request of the Election authority to give in the situation and let the forthcoming election go undisturbed, the press statement the students' body mentioned.

The Mizoram Election officials have informed the students' body that any change in the procedure while the election is in the offing is difficult, and so asked the students body to let the election held peacefully.

While the MSU respect the appeal, it is but difficult to comply with the request in view of the future of the Mizo nation, MSU leaders said.

"As the Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India has been apprised, if the demand of the MSU is unsuccessful, then we are determined to take steps as necessary in order not to let the Bru refugees cast their vote outside Mizoram, and we will oppose the same till the last," MSU leaders said.

MSU claimed that the Bru refugees lodging at Tripura Camp did not want to return to Mizoram despite the Mizoram government and representatives of the people of Mizoram, the NGOs has many a times asked them to return, the reason being expecting political benefit.

"Even after their 15 years long stay in Tripura, the need to follow them with Ballot Box for vote casting till today is unnecessary", the ireful MSU leaders said.

In the meantime, another students' body in the State, MZP also on October 25 submitted memorandum to the Election Commission of India through Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer, in which they apprised the latter of their discontentment over the arrangement of Special Drive for inclusion in the Electoral Roll for the Bru refugees while the same is not arranged for the indigenous Mizo people.

If the special drive by way of which all the eligible voters in entire Mizoram would be included in the Electoral Roll is not carried out, MZP will take all necessary steps as the situation demands, the memorandum submitted to the ECI mentioned.

Regarding the matter, MZP president Lalhmachhuana said, "As we have just submitted memorandum, we shall wait for some time.

"However, if our demand is not met, we shall take steps such that those newly included in the Electoral Roll after the Special Drive may not cast their votes.

We don't think that will be a difficult task," MZP president said on being asked.

MSU has also voiced dissatisfaction over the ongoing special drive for inclusion of new voters from the Bru refugees in the Electoral Roll, saying the move can be taken as disrespect towards the indigenous people.

In response to media query over the matter, Joint Chief Electoral Officer H.Lalengmawia said, "As the Bru refugees are in the Electoral roll and so have voting right, the Election Commission pays heed." "As we are functioning under the direction of Commission, we have to do what we are asked to do, and take steps as such," he added.

Meanwhile, a total number of 11,311 Bru voters residing in Tripura Relief Camp are eligible to cast vote in the upcoming Mizoram state assembly elections.

It is pertinent to note that hundreds of Brus left Mizoram in 1997 and 2009.The first case was triggered when Bru militants murdered two Mizos who were forest guards on October 21, 1997 .

The second case happened after a 17-year-old Mizo boy was killed by the Brus near Bungthuam village on November 13, 2009.When the Bru left Mizoram they had driven out some Mizos in villages of Sakhan Hill Range in Tripura like Sakhan Serhmun, Sakhan Tlangsang, Sakhan Tualsen and Upper Dosda which had kicked up much ruckus in Mizoram then.

Meanwhile, a couple of years ago, head count conducted by the MBDPF found that there had been 31,703 Brus in the relief camps belonging to 5,448 families who were bona fide residents of Mizoram.

The repatriation of the 1997 batch of Bru refugees was underway until it stalled by the November 13 killing.

In the year 2011, conglomeration of major NGOs in Mizoram had submitted a joint memorandum to the then Union Home minister P Chidambaram to rehabilitate displaced Mizos in Tripura and stall the ongoing repatriation of Brus from Tripura to Mizoram.

The memorandum was signed by representatives of four large NGOs in the state--the Young Mizo Association (YMA), the MZP, the Mizoram Upa Pawl (MUP) or elders association and the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) or the women's federation and four political parties.

The memorandum had mentioned that more than 80 Mizo families displaced from Tripura's Sakhan Hill range in 1998 after being threatened by Bru militants should be adequately rehabilitated by the Centre, otherwise, the repatriation of Bru refugees from Tripura relief camps should not be allowed.


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