A Bru woman at a refugee camp in Tripura. File photo: Panna Ghosh

Over 11,000 Bru voters settling at six relief camps in North Tripura district will cast their vote at Kanhmun village in Mamit district of Mizoram, Mizoram’s new CEO Ashish Kundra said on Friday.

At a press conference held at CEO’s conference hall Ashish Kundra, the replacement for the ousted SB Shashank said the Brus will exercise their franchise at Kanhmun village.

“Details are yet to be made as to how many polling stations will be installed,” Ashish Kundra said.

Ashish Kundra said that the decision to set up polling stations came after consultation with the NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella committee comprising all the larger NGOs of the state.

“What’s already done cannot be changed, I appeal to the people of Mizoram to move forward and carry on the beautiful tradition of Mizoram’s peaceful and fair election,” Kundra said.

The Brus, who left Mizoram en masse in 1997, have been settling in relief camps in Tripura. The Bru exodus began in 1997 after some Bru miscreants killed a Mizo wildlife game watcher, leaders of the Brus persuaded and at some locations forced the Bru population to flee saying that the killing of the Mizo wildlife game watcher would trigger an ethnic violence.

Nine attempts have been made by the Mizoram government and the ministry of home affairs to repatriate the Brus, but only a few have returned.

A huge standoff between the dominant Mizos and the Brus came up after the election department’s initiative to let the Brus cast their vote at the relief camps. The spark ignited into bigger flames after the then Mizoram CEO SB Shashank filed a complaint against Lalnunmawia Chuaungo to the ECI alleging him of meddling with election process. The larger NGOs of the state protested against Shashank’s move and asked him to leave the state.

Sangzuala Hmar

Sangzuala Hmar is Northeast Now Correspondent in Aizawl. He can be reached at: sz.hmar@gmail.com

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