Guwahati: The Bru refugees under an umbrella organization living in Tripura have appealed to the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to set up polling stations in their relief camps for the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
It has been reported that many of the refugees could not vote during the Mizoram assembly which was held on November 28, 2018 as the polling stations have been set up 70 kms away from the relief camps which is near the state border. Around 35000 Bru refugees living in six relief camps at Kanchanpur sub-division of North Tripura districts belongs from Mizoram.
The letter given to the election commissioner stated that it is not possible for the elderly and ailing people, pregnant women and even people with disabilities to travel 70 km by vehicle to cast their vote. Because of the long distance of polling stations, the poll percentage comes to low at those temporary polling stations.
The state election department, therefore, set up 15 temporary polling stations at Mizoram-Tripura border village of Kanhmun to facilitate over 12,000 Bru voters to cast their votes. The letter submitted to the election commissioner also claims that the Bru voters were provided lunch only after casting their votes which left many of them hungry while standing in the queue to exercise their franchise.
The voters also appealed to give directions to the state election department to expedite the conduct of electoral roll revision in the relief camps.
However, the voters list of Bru refugees has been revised by the Mizoram election department in their camps before the repatriation last year despite opposition from the civil societies. The enlistment forms duly filled in by the inmates of the relief camps were stolen at the election office at Mamit district in Mizoram on 23rd August.
Meanwhile, 150 members of 42 families out of 5000 odd refugee families returned to Mizoram during the exercise and thousands of Bru refugees from Mizoram fled to Tripura during the ethnic violence in 1997.