19 - 11 - 2018

WHY DISPLACED BRUS IN TRIPURA SHOULD NOT VOTE FROM TRIPURA

According to the now-ousted Chief Electoral Officer of Mizoram SB Shashank, the Mizoram government is not concerned with the voting rights of the Bru population in the Tripura camp but does he know the history of the Brus who fled to Tripura from Mizoram?

Here is an excerpt from the dossier - The Bru Crisis In A Nutshell - produced for the Mizoram Police by the then-Commandant of the 2nd IR Bn L.T.Hrangchal. The police officer-turned-politician documented well-researched pieces of information that is key to understanding the present situation. Clearly, the CEO has no understanding of any of it.

"THE UPRISING AND ITS IMPACT

2.1 ITS GENESIS:

 The Bru National Union (BNU) was formed in 1994 for the protection, development and upliftment of the Bru (Reang) community. On 23rd and 24th September, 1997 -the Bru National Union (BNU) held its first significant and crucial Conference at Saipuilui village; a conference which was attended by some 400 delegates of the Bru community -including delegates of the Bru community from Tripura.  The Conference adopted a resolution demanding creation of separate Autonomous District Council for the Bru community within Mizoram.  This came as a big surprise to the Mizos in general.  Particularly, the Mizos living in the Western Belt, which constitutes the demand area of the Brus, had reacted very strongly to this resolution, mainly because of the fact that even within the demand area -the Bru community consisted only less than 40 per cent of the population.  Incidentally, the demand for a separate administrative unit by the Chakmas and subsequent recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee on Petitions for creation of the same had already caused sufficient alarm to the Mizos who felt that these immigrants have now posed a threat to their existence even in their homeland. The Mizos in the Western Belt of the then Aizawl District strongly reacted to the demand for Autonomous District Council by the Brus.  The Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) with its Headquarters at Mamit was the first NGO to react officially.  It held a meeting at Rengdil village on the 14th October, 1997 and raised strong objections against the demand.  In fact, even prior to the objections raised by the MZP, a number of Bru families had already migrated after disposing off their properties, indicating that there had already existed a covert but unarmed movement much earlier.

 

2.2 THE EXODUS: 

Sensing the possibility of a violent clash between the Mizos and the Brus, a number of Bru families were prepared to leave Mizoram; and they did -as mentioned earlier.  This tendency to migrate was put to its full swing by activists of the Bru National Union (BNU) and also by the leaders of the Bru Students' Association (BSA).  To mention a few names - Bruno Mesha, the then President of BSA; R. Laldawngliana, A. Sawibunga Riang went from village to village, telling people of their (Bru) community to leave Mizoram so that the BNU may continue to persue its resolution for Autonomous District Council by using violent methods, if felt necessary.  By this time, the Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF), a militant Organisation, or the armed Wing of the BNU, was also formed.  However, the formation and existence of this outfit (BNLF) was not known to Mizoram Police nor to other intelligence agencies till the killing of Pu Lalzawmliana, a Wildlife Game Watcher of Mizoram Forest Department on 21.10.1997."

Did you notice some familiar names viz., Bruna Msha, A.Sawibunga? Of course you do. Because, today, these characters are leaders of the Bru displaced community in Tripura, the very community they used back in the late 90's.

SB Shashank does not deserve to hold the CEO's office. We can all agree to that. But the Election Commission cannot and must not appoint a highly biased officer with little or no knowledge of who the leaders of the Bru displaced community are, what they did and what they are doing.

According to the Election Commission of India, the answer to the question of "Who is eligible to be registered as a general elector?" is - "Every Indian citizen who has attained the age of 18 years on the qualifying date i.e. first day of January of the year of revision of electoral roll, unless otherwise disqualified, is eligible to be registered as a voter in the roll of the part/polling area of the constituency where he is ordinarily resident."

Most Brus in Mizoram know that they are safe in Mizoram. Why do leaders of the displaced Bru community in Tripura continue to tell the world the lie that they are not safe to go back to Mizoram? More importantly, why does the Election Commission of India allow a biased decision to continue against the wishes of the Mizo people? And most importantly, why do the Mizo people put up with this? 

 How can someone who is not ordinarily a resident of Mizoram be enlisted in the electoral roll of Mizoram?