AIZAWL, April 25 - The People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), an anti-corruption campaign group-turned-political party, today accused the Election Commission of India (EC) of violating the law by declaring the Bru people in Tripura as “ordinary residents” of Mizoram and vowed to take measures to ensure that the Bru voters do not cast their votes at special polling stations inside Mizoram in future elections.
A statement issued by PRISM alleged that the EC has illegally declared the Bru tribals lodged in six relief camps in Tripura as ordinary residents of Mizoram, due to which the Bru voters were allowed to cast their votes in Mizoram at special polling stations arranged for them. “We have been taking measures to stop this practice as it is against the interest of the Mizo people and not safe for Mizoram,” the statement said.
PRISM president Vanlalruata said the poll panel declared the Bru people as ordinary residents of Mizoram on September 6, 2014. He also said that the EC is not a competent authority to make such a declaration as it is within the purview of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Ever since they fled Mizoram in 1997, the Bru people have been casting their votes inside their relief camps.
In the State Assembly polls held in November last year, the Bru voters cast their votes for the first time in Mizoram as the EC had arranged 15 special polling stations for them at Kanhmun village on the Mizoram-Tripura border. More than 50 per cent of the Bru voters cast their votes at the village.
In the Lok Sabha polls held on April 11, the poll panel again set up 15 special polling booths for 12,081 Bru voters from six relief camps in Tripura. Only 33.54 per cent of them cast their votes in the Lok Sabha elections.
Major civil society organisations in the State have been opposing the setting up of special polling stations for Bru voters and said that the Bru people should return and cast their votes in their respective polling stations in Mizoram.