Wanna get our awesome news?
We will send you weekly news & updates. Isn't that cool?
Subscribe!

Actually we will not spam you and keep your personal data secure

Wanna get our awesome news?
We will send you emails only several times per week. Isn't that cool?
Subscribe!

Actually we will not spam you and keep your personal data secure

Tue, 23 Jul 2019

Northeast Today

Bru Refugees: Centrestage of Politics & A Social Irritant in Mizoram

Bru Refugees: Centrestage of Politics & A Social Irritant in Mizoram
December 16
13:29 2014

The problem of Bru refugees lodged in relief camps in Tripura since 1997 continued to remain at the centrestage of politics and a social irritant in Mizoram during 2014. The abduction of Deep Mondal of West Bengal, working under a telecom service provider, from a relief camp on November 23, 2013 by Bru goons and his captivity inside Bangladesh jungles since then caused serious consternation in the Mizo society.

Social pressure continued to mount as civil societies demanded his unconditional release and a large number of Young Mizo Association (YMA) volunteers even went to the Mizoram-Bangladesh border as a ‘search party’. Mondal was finally released on March 22 by the abductors and reunited with his family a few days later. The civil societies, angered by Election Commission’s decision to allow Bru voters in the relief camps, outside Mizoram, began mounting pressures on the poll panel and the state government. In February, major civil societies and student bodies submitted a joint memorandum to Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath urging him to delete names of Brus lodged in Tripura relief camps from Mizoram’s voter lists.

The civil societies said that the Bru voters, despite several attempts by the centre, the Mizoram government and the Mizo people to repatriate them, refused to return to Mizoram and should be disenfranchised. State chief minister Lal Thanhawla also wrote to Sampath in March on the same issue.

However, the Election Commission, on March 23 instructed the Tripura election officials to conduct polls for the Lok Sabha elections scheduled to be held in Mizoram on April 9 for the 11,243 Brus voters in the relief camps through postal ballots. The civil societies in Mizoram were on the warpath over the E”s decision and launched a massive protest rally in Aizawl on March 24 where the copies of the Bru voters’ lists and the EC’s instructions were burnt in front of the state election directorate office.

The civil societies even decided to boycott the election to the lone Lok Sabha seat and by-poll to the Hrangturzo assembly seat, vacated by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla who won from two seats in the polls to the 40-member state legislature held on November 25, 2013. NGO Coordination Committee clamped a 72-hour bandh from April 7 and obstructed all the polling parties to leave the district headquarters for election duty.

On the second day of the bandh, the EC decided to defer the date of election from April nine to April 11. The civil societies also called off the bandh after reportedly receiving assurances from the state government that all the Brus in the relief camps would be repatriated within three months after the election and also that name of Bru voters who remained in Tripura would be deleted from the lists.

In the election to the lone state Lok Sabha seat, sitting MP C L Ruala of ruling Congress defeated Robert Romawia Royte, combine candidate of the eight-party opposition alliance by a margin of 6,154 votes. Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu of the Congress was elected in the Hrangturzo Assembly seat to become the first woman to enter the state assembly after a gap of 27 years and the only unmarried woman to make it to the Mizoram legislature.

As promised by the state government to the civil societies, the sixth phase of Bru repatriation was conducted during June 17 to 21 when 886 people belonging to 173 families returned despite obstruction from anti-repatriation elements.

The Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF), the apex body of the Brus in the relief camps demanded increase of rehabilitation and resettlement package per family from Rs 85,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh and free ration for two years. Even after officially closing the repatriation process, Bru families continued to return to Mizoram, and by September, a total of 2,136 people belonging to 427 families returned since June 17.

Related Articles

0 Comments