Parties In Mizoram Asked Not To Visit Bru camps For Poll Campaigns

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Elections to the 40-member Assembly will be held on November 28.

Aizawl:

The top body of Bru refugees in Tripura has appealed to political parties in Mizoram to refrain from visiting the relief camps for poll campaigns, ahead of the November 28 elections to the 40-member Assembly.

R Laldawngliana, the vice president of Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum (MBDPF), said the community members were not keen on attending public meetings by parties from Mizoram.

"We do not welcome poll canvassing inside the camps. The members here are not looking forward to attending public meetings by the parties, just before the polls," he said.

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The general secretary of the outfit, Bruno Msha, said unorganised campaigns by political parties could lead to a law-and-order situation.

He, however, clarified that political parties have to approach the MBDPF leadership if they wish to carry out campaigns in the region.

"If any political party wishes to hold a public rally, it should get in touch with the MBDPF leadership. We do not wish to create any law-and-order situation in the camps, where one group could be pitted against another," Msha said.

He also noted that no campaigner from Mizoram has visited the relief camps so far, but flags of different political parties were on display in a number of households.

Thousands of Bru community members fled Mizoram and took shelter in Tripura following ethnic clashes in 1997. Violence broke out after a forest official was killed by Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) militants.

The Centre, in association with the governments of Mizoram and Tripura, had been trying to repatriate the displaced Brus in phases.

Though several Bru families have returned to Mizoram over the years, many refused to leave Tripura citing security reasons and inadequate package.

The MBDPF had recently appealed to the Election Commission of India to establish polling stations in the relief camps for the Bru voters.

It was countered by NGO Coordination Committee, a conglomerate of major civil societies in Mizoram, which urged the EC to defranchise all Bru voters who chose to stay back in Tripura and did not return to Mizoram.

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