Mizoram bandh called off as EC defers poll dates

  • PTI, Aizawl
  • Updated: Apr 08, 2014 22:17 IST

Mizoram Joint NGO Coordination Committee on Tuesday called off its 72-hour state-wide bandh after the Election Commission and the state government agreed to their demands against the exercise of franchise by Bru voters lodged in Tripura camps through postal ballots.

"The EC has agreed to our demand that Bru voters lodged in Tripura relief camps, in future, should exercise franchise in Mizoram," Lalbiakzuala, chairman of the Joint NGO Coordination committee and president of the central committee of the Young Mizo Association (YMA), said while calling off the bandh at 1pm.

The state government, he said, has also agreed to repatriate all Brus from the Tripura relief camps within three months after the completion of the election process and the names of those who refuse to return to Mizoram would be deleted from the voter lists in that state.

The Bru refugees escaped from Mizoram to the bordering state of Tripura nearly 17 years ago in the wake of ethnic clashes with the majority Mizo tribe.

Of the 36,000 Bru refugees living in Kanchanpur and Panisagar refugee camps in Tripura, nearly 11,500 are listed in Mizoram's electoral rolls.

Earlier in the day, the poll body had deferred the date for the election to the lone state Lok Sabha seat and by-poll to the Hrangturzo assembly seat in Mizoram from April 9 to April 11.

EC secretary Narendra N Bhutolia wrote a letter to the state chief electoral officer Ashwani Kumar saying polling would be held in Mizoram on April 11 and re-polling, if any, would be held on April 14.

The EC also decided that provision would be made during future Lok Sabha and assembly elections for exercise of franchise in Mizoram by the Bru voters living in Tripura whose names were enrolled in the voters list of Mizoram.

The decision of the commission came after the bandh began at 5am on Monday to protest the exercise of franchise by Bru voters in the Tripura relief camps on April 1 to April 3, through postal ballots.

Except for south Mizoram's Lawngtlai and Saiha districts, not a single polling party left the district headquarters for their places of poll duty on Monday due to the bandh.

The bandh, however, was not enforced in the two districts due to late delivery of information from Aizawl, Joint NGO Coordination chairman Lalbiakzuala said.

The bandh had disrupted normal life completely in the state as all government offices, educational institutions and shops remained closed.

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