India — (PTI) Issues related to rehabilitation of Bru refugees, Census officials facing opposition from religious fanatics and widespread forest fires kept Mizoram in news in 2011. The third phase of the repatriation commenced on April 12, the day when 82 Bru families returned from Tripura to Mizoram and around 622 families returned till May 19. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s plans to visit Bru-inhabited areas in May to oversee the process was cancelled due to inclement weather. It also resulted in stalling of further repatriation.
A massive fire broke out in the largest Bru relief camp – Naisingpara on March 19, killing 19 people and injuring more than 50 besides destroying over 3,000 houses. The second phase of Census 2011 began from February 9 with 2,200 enumerators and 450 supervisors encountering religious fanatics who refused to be enrolled because of the fear of being identified or marked with the number of the Biblical Beast or Satan. The first part of the year witnessed widespread forest fires which were followed by monsoon downpours causing landslides and perpetual road blockades and destruction of properties. Former chief minister Brig. Thenphunga Sailo retired from active politics and was replaced by his son Lalhmangaiha Sailo, a retired IRS officer as the president of the Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC).