The names of at least 1,259 Bru voters have been deleted from Mizoram voters’ lists after Tripura election officials enrolled the voters in the state electoral rolls till date, Mizoram joint chief electoral officer (CEO) David Liansanglura Pachuau said on August 7.
Pachuau said that inclusion of Bru voters, who have decided to permanently settle in Tripura, in the electoral rolls of the neighbouring state has been a continual process.
“The Bru voters, who were enlisted in the Mizoram voters’ lists, but had already settled in Tripura in accordance with the quadripartite agreement of January 2020, are being enrolled in the Tripura electoral rolls, and the names of voters enrolled in Tripura voters’ lists were communicated to the Mizoram election department through ERONet,” he said.
He said that those names being enrolled in the Tripura rolls were immediately and automatically deleted from Mizoram voters’ lists.
Over a thousand applications by the Bru residents who wanted to be enrolled in Tripura electoral rolls have been pending as it was not an easy task to entertain such a large number of people expeditiously and the process could not be speeded up, he said.
Bru voters who had resettled in Tripura were enrolled mainly in Mizoram-Tripura-Bangladesh border Mamit district, Assam border Kolasib district and Mizoram-Bangladesh border Lunglei district in southern part of the state.
Thousands of Brus, who fled Mizoram and migrated to Tripura following the murder of Lalzawmliana, a wildlife game watcher in the Dampa Tiger Reserve on October 21, 1997 by cadres of the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF), remained in the Mizoram voters’ lists and continued to exercise franchise in assembly and parliamentary polls though they were lodged in six relief camps in Tripura.
The Brus being allowed to cast their votes in Mizoram while residing in Tripura for over 30 years had been a bone of contention between the civil societies and political parties of the state and the Election Commission of India.
As the Brus stubbornly refused to return to Mizoram despite a plethora of attempts at repatriation, the quadripartite agreement signed between the Centre, Tripura and Mizoram governments and the Bru leaders in January 2020, the Bru people lodged in the relief camps in North Tripura district were allowed to remain in Tripura.
The Tripura government was tasked to provide over 32,000 Brus permanent resettlement in the state who have been staying at six relief camps in North Tripura district since October 1997.
There were 11,232 Bru voters in Mizoram’s electoral rolls before the state assembly polls in the later part of 2018 while those Bru voters were physically in Tripura relief camps for over 30 years.
Even after the January 2020 agreement allowed them to stay in Tripura permanently, a large number of Bru voters were still enrolled in the Mizoram voters’ lists.