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Tue, 11 Dec 2018

Northeast Today

Bru Refugees likely to Vote in Mizoram

Bru Refugees likely to Vote in Mizoram
November 17
12:45 2018

NET Bureau

Bru refugees, who have been lodged in relief camps in north Tripura for the last 22 years and who have cast their votes through postal ballots in the previous elections, are likely to exercise their franchise within Mizoram for the forthcoming State Assembly polls, newly appointed Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ashish Kundra said in Aizawl on Friday.

Addressing a media conference a day after his appointment as the CEO, Kundra said the issue of Bru refugees had been discussed.

“We are awaiting the final decision of the Election Commission. We hope it will be a formal decision. There is an indication (from the poll panel) that the Bru refugees will cast their votes inside Mizoram, which is likely to be Kanhmun town along the Tripura-Mizoram border,” he said.

The civil society and all political parties in Mizoram are against the Bru refugees exercising their voting rights from their camps in Tripura as the refugees have refused to return to Mizoram despite several attempts to repatriate them. This, in fact, was the main reason behind the demand for the removal of previous CEO SB Shashank.

Kundra said he had met civil society leaders in the morning and discussed the voting issue of Bru refugees. He added that the civil societies were appreciative of the Election Commission’s decision.

Necessary security arrangement will be put into place by the Mizoram Government for the transportation of the refugees, he added.

Kundra said the recent incident in Mizoram (the massive protests against Shashank) was regrettable.

“Mizoram has had a reputation of conducting free and fair elections, which should be emulated by the rest of India. I have confidence that with the support of the civil societies, the churches and all stakeholders, we will be able demonstrate to the whole nation that Mizoram is able to stand up for free and fair elections,” he said.

The CEO said 38 polling stations have been identified as vulnerable, while another 32 have been identified as “critical”. Videography will be mandatory in these critical polling stations.

Kundra was on Monday appointed as the CEO to replace Shashank who had a spat with the civil societies in Mizoram.

SOURCE: The Assam Tribune

(Image Credit: TIME8)

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