Bandh off as EC agrees to strip Brus of voting rights

The EC postponed elections for Mizoram’s lone seat by two days to April 11 since polling parties were unable to make preparations due to the bandh.

Written by Adam Halliday | Aizwal | Published:April 9, 2014 12:49 am

A statewide bandh in Mizoram was called off Tuesday after the Election Commission assured protesting organisations that it will no longer grant voting rights to displaced Brus in Tripura for elections in Mizoram.

The EC postponed elections for Mizoram’s lone seat by two days to April 11 since polling parties were unable to make preparations due to the bandh, with hundreds of protesters blocking officials from reporting for duty.

The Mizoram government also told the organisations it will set a repatriation deadline of three months and remove any Brus who do not return to Mizoram during that time from the state’s electoral rolls.

“The joint committee of the organisations decided to call off the bandh after getting written assurances from the EC and the government,” said Lalhruaitluanga, a central executive committee member of the Young Mizo Association (YMA), which spearheaded the bandh.

The five organisations — YMA, Mizo Zirlai Pawl (Mizo Students’ Association), Mizo Students’ Union, Mizoram Upa Pawl (an association of elders) and Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (the apex women’s body) — had imposed the bandh till April 9, the scheduled polling date.

This was to protest the EC’s decision to allow over 11,000 displaced Bru tribals to vote from neighbouring Tripura. The organisations had demanded the displaced Brus’ votes be discarded, and fresh polls be held for them within Mizoram.

Over 5,000 Bru families had fled Mizoram in 1997 following ethnic violence, but 1,040 families have since returned .

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