In a recent development, the names of more than 6,000 Bru voters from nine assembly constituencies have been removed from Mizoram’s voter list. Officials confirmed this on Wednesday, stating that the deletion was a result of their settlement in Tripura following the agreement reached in 2020.

The affected constituencies are spread across three districts: Mamit, Kolasib, and Lunglei. Among them, over 4,900 Bru voters’ names were deleted from the electoral rolls in the Mamit, Dampa, and Hachhek assembly constituencies. Similarly, Kolasib district saw the deletion of 948 names of Bru voters who have permanently settled in Tripura from the electoral rolls in Kolasib, Serlui, and Tuirial assembly constituencies. In the southern district of Lunglei, 334 names of Bru voters were deleted from the electoral rolls in Lunglei South, Thorang, and West Tuipui assembly seats.

The election officials clarified that the final number of Bru voters would be determined when the draft electoral roll is published on August 2. The completion of the current revision of the electoral roll is scheduled for October 4.

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The issue of deletion of Bru voters had been a matter of concern, as the receipt of corresponding requests for deletion from the Tripura state election commission through ERONet was proceeding slowly. This prompted the Mizoram election department to take action independently after Madhup Vyas assumed office as the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).

The plight of the Bru voters dates back to 1997 when ethnic tension escalated due to the murder of a Mizo forest officer by former Bru militants. In response, thousands of Bru voters had fled to Tripura, where they have since been living in transit camps for over two decades.

Numerous attempts were made between 2009 and 2019 by the Centre and the governments of Mizoram and Tripura to repatriate the displaced Bru tribals. However, it was on January 16, 2020, that a significant breakthrough occurred. The Centre, along with the governments of Mizoram and Tripura, and representatives of various Bru organizations signed an agreement. This agreement allowed over 35,000 displaced Bru tribals, who were hesitant to return to Mizoram during repatriation, to resettle permanently in Tripura.

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The deletion of names from the voter list has raised concerns among the Bru community, and authorities must ensure that the process is fair and transparent. The agreement of 2020 aimed to address the long-standing issue of displacement, and now, with the deletion of names from the voter list, it becomes essential to ensure the rights and representation of the Bru voters are upheld.

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