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Strike over Bru voters

Aizawl, April 7: Life came to a virtual standstill in poll-bound Mizoram as three major community-based organisations and two student groups called a 72-hour strike from 5am today demanding cancellation of postal ballots cast by Bru refugees in North Tripura relief camps for the April 9 election.

The influential organisations — Young Mizo Association, Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (Mizo women’s organisation), Mizoram Upa Pawl (senior citizens’ association), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (Mizo students’ association) and Mizo Students Union, had been protesting the Election Commission’s decision to allow the Bru refugees to cast their votes in the relief camps. The Brus cast their votes during April 1-3.

Sources said the Election Commission had asked them to postpone the polling date to April 15. The poll panel was also said to have agreed not to allow the Bru refugees cast their votes outside Mizoram.

At the time of reporting, the organisers are holding a meeting with the three candidates asking them if they agree to reject the refugees’ votes in case they (the votes) become a deciding factor, the strike will likely be called off.