2012 yearender: Disasters, refugee issue dominate Mizoram scene

Mizoram

2012 was a year of disaster, both man-made and natural, in Mizoram and an acute shortage of essential commodities throughout the year added to people's woes while the vexed issue of repatriation of Bru refugees continued to haunt the government.

With the Christians-dominated state scheduled to go for Assembly elections next year, Opposition parties were very vocal in their criticism of the Congress government.

Two issues that dominated the year dealt with minority communities - Hmars and Brus, also known as Reangs.

Acute shortage of essential commodities, especially cooking gas, resulted in Opposition parties stepping up their attacks on the government and even distributing bags of charcoal to the people.

Main Opposition MNF also distributed candles free of cost to people in protest against the intermittent power supply in the state.

Nine persons were killed and more than 10 injured due to several fire incidents till October while 152 houses were gutted and properties worth Rs 17.12 crore lost.

The worst fire incident was in February when 29 houses and three government buildings were completely gutted at Bazar Veng locality in south Mizoram's Saiha town.

Opposition parties alleged that most of the fire incidents occurred due to acute shortage of cooking gas and electricity as people resorted to alternate cooking and lighting devices like kerosene stoves and candles resulting in frequent accidents.

More than ten people including a woman and her daughter were killed due to landslides triggered by monsoon rains.

Many people were killed in several road mishaps with the worst accident being when 18 people died and 19 were injured when a bus was swept down to a deep gorge by a massive landslide in July. In March, 16 people died and 23 were injured when a bus fell into a deep gorge near Mizoram-Manipur border.

In the beginning of the year, Home Minister R Lalzirliana said the state government would not consider resumption of peace talks with the Manipur-based Hmar People's Convention - Democrats (HPC-D) militants with whom the government signed Suspension of Operations (SoO) in 2010.

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