Aizawl: Amidst strong protest, authorities in Mizoram have arranged transportation facility for thousands of Bru people living in Tripura to travel to Mizoram to vote in Wednesday Assembly elections in the state.
The Bru people are living in temporary camps in North Tripura since 1997 after ethnic clashes made them move out of their villages in Mizoram. Noteworthy that as many as 11,987 of those in the refugee camps have their votes in Mizoram
Mizoram’s chief electoral officer, Asish Kundra, told media that the BRU voters would exercise their franchise at Kanhmun village along the Tripura-Mizoram border in Manmit district. He also informed that Fifteen temporary polling stations have been set up for them.
Kundra further informed that the transport facility is provided till a predefined alighting point on the Tripura side, around 500 meters from a bridge that connects the two states. The cost of transportation will be borne by the Mizoram government.
It may be mentioned that Mizoram Government had earlier decided not to allow the BRU tribals lodge in the transit camps in Tripura cast their franchise in the State’s Assembly elections inspite of the Election Commission ordered the State government to conduct a revision of electoral rolls for BRU voters at the six relief camps in Tripura.
Earlier, the All-NGO Coordination Committee, which spearheaded the movement for replacing former chief electoral officer SB Shashank, alleging him of working against the interests of the Mizo people by making an all-out effort to register Bru voters in the Tripura relief camps without following established procedures, had opposed providing any kind of transportation for BRU voters on the polling day.
Around 40 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed for election duty in the state where 209 candidates are contesting for 40 seats in the assembly. There are 4,363 service voters.
A total of 1.164 polling stations have been set up across the state for Wednesday’s voting.