Reang refugees to cast vote on Nov 26 for Mizoram Assembly

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Agartala, Nov 23 (UNI) About 7500 Reang refugees would exercise their franchise for ensuing Mizoram Assembly election on November 26 in six camps of North Tripura, where they have been living for a decade.

State Election officials here today said, as per Election Commission's instruction refugees would cast vote in advance through postal ballots and both Tripura and Mizoram election departments would be engaged in the exercise.

Officials, however, stated that Mizoram government would send officials with ballot papers while other logistics would be provided by Tripura to conduct a smooth election in the camps from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on the day.

In previous elections including last Lok Sabha and state Assembly, the election commission had set up a separate booth along the border in Tripura and Mizoram and as a result, most of voters could not exercise their franchise.

About 35,000 Reang were living at Kanchanpur subdivision in North Tripura since 1997 followed by the ethnic clash in Mamit district of Western Mizoram. Neither Centre nor Mizoram government was sincere to solve the decade-old problem and to fulfill the commitment.

Meanwhile, Reang refugees displaced from western Mizoram in 1997 have indicated to support against ruling Mizo National Front (MNF).

Elvis Chorkhy, president of the Mizoram Bru Displaced People's Forum alleged that despite repeated initiatives, Zoramthanga government had not responded properly to take back the refugees rather refused to recognise them as resident of Mizoram and as a result, about 7800 eligible voters could not enrolled their name in the list.

Militant-outfit-turned-political-party, MNF had been ruling the state for the past 10 years but was reluctant to take back the Reang refugees, which prompted them to organise a series of agitations over the years.

After 14 rounds of talks, Mizoram government and Bru National Liberation Front (BNLF) had signed an agreement in April 2005 to resolve the ethnic crisis, leading to the surrender of about 1,040 militants belonging to the BNLF and Bru Liberation Front of Mizoram.

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