Aizawl: 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).

While pneumonia became the largest killer disease in the state, the mysterious deaths of six villagers of Thanzamasora hamlet in Lunglei district in March alarmed the people of this southern district.

The superstitious villagers belonging to the Chakma community fled the hamlet and hid in the nearby forests due to the belief that black magic was casted upon them and the 'Bawlpu' or village medicine man could not drive away the evil spirits.

Doctors, who first suspected malaria, after sending the tissues and body fluids of the victims to the National centre for Disease Control in Delhi, discovered that the villagers died due to an extremely rare disease called Indian Tick Typhus.

Another lesser known disease known as Scrub Typhus, propagated by mites and ticks, killed three people in the state and all of them were infected in Mizoram-Myanmar border Champhai district.

More than 30 people fell victim to the ferocious canine menace during October while the 'shoot at sight' orders issued by the authorities drew flak from animal activists.

The peace and tranquillity of the state known as 'an island of peace' was shattered by the abduction of two executives of Assam-based construction company Anupam Bricks and Concrete Industries Limited by suspected Bru militants on June six, 25 days before the state celebrated the 25th anniversary of the signing of the historic peace accord between the Centre and the erstwhile underground Mizo National Front (MNF). They were later rescued.

There was a change of guard at the Raj Bhavan in Aizawl as Vakkom B Purushothaman was sworn-in as the new Governor on September 2 replacing Lt. Gen Madan Mohan Lakhera.

(Agencies)