Mizoram elections 2018: 21 yrs on, Bru refugees cast vote for ‘change’

Bru refugees voted at 15 polling booths at Kahnmun in Mamit district of Mizoram, close to the border. Of the 11,987 registered Bru voters, 56.46% voted.

mizoram elections Updated: Nov 29, 2018 07:03 IST
Priyanka Deb Barman
Priyanka Deb Barman
Hindustan Times, KANHMUN (MIZORAM)
Mizoram Election 2018,Mizoram Election 2018 News,Mizoram Constituency
Bru tribal women show their identity card as they wait to cast their vote at a polling station for the state elections, at Kanhmun, Mizoram on November 28.(PTI Photo)

Tripura-settled Bru refugees who had fled violence in their native Mizoram 21 years ago, set foot in their native place for the first time in two decades to participate in Mizoram’s state assembly polls on Wednesday.

Bru refugees voted at 15 polling booths at Kahnmun in Mamit district of Mizoram, close to the border. Of the 11,987 registered Bru voters, 56.46% voted.

A day before the poll, Bru voters sounded dissatisfied with the polling stations in Kanhmun village along the Mizo-Tripura border. But to everyone's surprise, even veteran Bru voters and nursing mothers were seen standing in long queues to exercise their franchise for ‘change’. in their lives. The fragrance of ‘khichdi’ and non-vegetarian fare cooked by delegates of the Young Mizo Association wafted through the polling complex, as volunteers handed food packets to voters leaving the booths. " It is quite difficult to travel at this age.The camp would have been the best place to vote for us. But my nephew helped me walk to the polling booth,” said 64-year-old Sourbino Reang, a resident of the Naisingpara camp.

Read| 80% turnout in Mizoram, slight dip compared to 83.41% in 2013

Sandoulani Reang, a 25-year-old mother of a baby, feels that the BJP could change her life in such a way that she and her infant will no longer have to live in a camp. Many other motheres were seen carrying their children on their backs to cast their vote.

Some like 37-year old Ashapara resident, Rasmohan Reang who is originally from the Mamit district where the voting booths were located, still dream of unfulfilled demands.

Others like 27-year old Murenjoy Molshoy has no recollection of when he fled to the camps along with his parents. Still, Murenjoy has learnt the importance of voting. " We have the right to vote and a change is required,” he said.

Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum ( MBDPF) vice president, V Laldungliana said there were some inconveniences , like inexperienced drivers and breakdowns along the route and a lack of drinking water.

But of 541 vehicles arranged to carry Bru voters from the camps to the polling stations and back, 433 were used, indicating a strong desire to vote, at all costs, for a change .

For more on Mizoram elections, read here

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 23:30 IST