Aizawl: Names of more than 11,000 Bru community people living in relief camps in Tripura will be deleted from voters' list of their homeland Mizoram, following an agreement that allows the tribals to permanently settle in Tripura, a senior official said on Thursday.
Thousands of Bru community people have been living in relief camps in Tripura since 1997. They had fled Mizoram to reach the neighbouring state because of ethnic clashes. By now, the total number of these internally displaced people has risen to around 34,000.
The process of deletion of Bru voters from the state voters' list is likely to be undertaken once the relief camps are closed down, Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ahish Kudran told PTI.
"The action regarding deletion of names of the Bru voters will be taken probably during the next roll revision following provisions of the Representation of the People Act and taking approval from the Election Commission," he said.
There were a total of 12,081 Bru voters in six relief camps in Tripura in the Lok Sabha polls in April last year. Only 33.54 per cent of those voters exercised their franchise at 15 polling booths set up exclusively for them at a village on the Mizoram-Tripura border.
Kundra said the exact number of Bru voters could not be determined now as a section of them have returned to Mizoram during the final and ninth round repatriation in October after the last roll revision.
He expressed hope that the Bru voters, who did not return to Mizoram before the quadripartite agreement signed on January 16, would be included in Tripura's electoral role.
The pact signed by representatives of the Brus, the central, Tripura and Mizoram governments in New Delhi allows these tribal people to permanently settle in Tripura.
The agreement was signed one-and-a-half months after the latest initiative to send the Bru refugees back to Mizoram failed. Of the targeted 4,447 families, Tripura Chief Minister
Biplab Kumar Deb last week said only 350 families could be repatriated.
Deb said it will take at least six months to resettle the 34,000 odd members of the community who are living in Tripura for 23 years.
The Brus are staying in six camps at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura district. They get free ration and a cash dole from the Centre.
The vexed Bru issue started from September, 1997, following demands of a separate autonomous district council by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura.
The situation was aggravated by the murder of a forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in western Mizoram by Bru National Liberation Front insurgents on October 21 that year.
The first attempt to repatriate the Brus from Tripura was made in November 2009.
The Centre, along with the governments of Tripura and Mizoram, had been trying to repatriate them to their home state over the past one decade, with little success.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)