The names of 1,355 Bru people have been deleted from the electoral rolls of Mizoram following their enrolment as voters in adjoining Tripura.
More than 88% of the Bru voters who resettled in Tripura remain to be removed from the State’s electoral rolls, Mizoram’s Election Department officials said.
Thousands of Brus – a mix of Christians and Hindus – had fled the ethnic violence in Mizoram in 1997. More than 35,000 of them refused to return to a life of uncertainty and chose to live in relief camps in the Kanchanpur and Panisagar subdivisions of the North Tripura district.
The issue of the internally-displaced Brus was resolved following Tripura’s decision to accommodate them permanently. A quadripartite agreement was signed among the Centre, the Mizoram and the Tripura governments and the representatives of the refugees in January 2020 to facilitate the community’s resettlement in Tripura.
“The names of the Bru voters were removed from the electoral rolls in three of our districts following a deletion request received from the Tripura Election Department,” Mizoram’s joint chief electoral officer, David Liansanglura Pachuau said.
The Bru voters were scattered across nine Assembly constituencies in the three districts – Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei. More than 84% of these voters were from the Mamit district.
Mr. Pachuau said the process of enrolment of the Bru voters in Tripura was quite slow with 10,404 more registered voters who left Mizoram remaining to be removed as voters. “We may write to the Tripura government to speed up the process as the Assembly elections are due next year,” he said.
Along with Meghalaya and Nagaland, the Assembly elections in Tripura are due by February 2023. The Mizoram’s State polls are scheduled for December 2023.
According to the Mizoram’s Election Department, 11,759 Brus who were allowed to resettle in Tripura were enrolled in the voters’ list of Mizoram. They included 5,751 females.
There were several attempts to repatriate the displaced Brus in Mizoram. The first attempt in November 2009 was marred by the murder of a Mizo villager, triggering another round of exodus. Eight more attempts until October 2019 saw only a handful of the Bru refugees returning to Mizoram.