No Voting Arrangement So Far For Those Displaced In Manipur: Official

People have taken shelter in relief camps since May las year over ongoing violence.


Thousands of Kuki-Zo community people of Manipur, who have taken shelter in Mizoram following the ethnic violence in their home state, may not be able to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha polls, an official said on Tuesday.

No voting arrangement has been made for these Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from Manipur till now, an Election Commission official said.

According to Mizoram Home Department’s data accessed by PTI, altogether 9,196 adults and children from neighbouring Manipur have taken shelter in different parts of the state.

“A discussion is on among officials of the Election Commission to enable the Manipuris, displaced in different parts of the country, to exercise their franchise in the upcoming polls. However, till now, there is no plan to make special arrangements for them,” the official told PTI on condition of anonymity.

The two Manipur Lok Sabha seats will go to polls on April 19.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar recently said that the EC has drawn up a scheme to allow displaced people in Manipur to cast their votes from the camps where they are staying.

Manipur’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Pradeep Kumar Jha had told reporters that the scheme is limited to the state’s territorial jurisdiction.

According to a tribal organisation of Manipur’s Churachandpur district, the Kuki-Zo people are also staying in Delhi and other cities across the country, besides Mizoram.

In the past, the Election Commission had allowed the IDPs to exercise their franchise from the host states.

Mizoram’s Bru people who fled to Tripura due to ethnic tension in 1997 were allowed to vote through postal ballots in Tripura’s relief camps. In 2018, however, exclusive polling stations were set up at a village on the Mizoram-Tripura border following opposition by Mizoram civil society groups that the Bru people should not vote in the relief camps.

The Kashmiri IDPs living in Delhi have been allowed to vote from Delhi.

Of the 9,196 people of Manipur who are staying in Mizoram, 1,340 are in 26 relief camps, while 7,856 are outside relief camps, the data said.

Aizawl district hosts the highest number of displaced Manipuris at 4,446, followed by Kolasib district at 2,674 and Saitual district at 1,275, it said.

The Manipuris, who took shelter in Mizoram mostly belong to the minority Kuki-Zo community, who share ethnic ties with the Mizos.

They have taken shelter in the northeastern state since May last year due to the ongoing ethnic violence in the neighbouring state.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)