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EC summons Mizo CEO, sets up panel to examine demands

November 08, 2018 05:32 AM


EC summons Mizo CEO, sets up panel to examine demands
Poll Body’s Decision Seen As Positive Sign By Protesters


After two days of picketing around the office of Mizoram chief electoral officer SB Shashank, the NGO Coordination Committee on Wednesday called off its protest after the Election Commission (EC) summoned Shashank to New Delhi and set up a panel to examine its demands.

“The EC has accepted the broad contours of the resolution of Mizoram’s NGO Coordination Committee,” a statement issued by Pawan Diwan, EC under-secretary, said on Wednesday. Jharkhand chief electoral officer, Lalbiaktluanga Khiangte, a Mizo, will be part of the panel.

The EC’s decision to call Shashank to Delhi was taken as a positive sign by the protesting organizations, but they said they would adopt a wait-and-watch approach for what the EC decides next. “If Shashank comes back, the agitation will start again,” Vanlalruata, chairperson of the NGO Coordination Committee, said on Wednesday.

Thousands of protesters had taken to the streets of Aizawl and laid siege to the office of chief electoral officer on Tuesday with two demands — that Shashank be removed and principal secretary for home Lalnunmawia Chuaungo be reinstated.

Shashank had complained to the EC that Chuaungo was interfering with the process by questioning the need for a huge security deployment for the polls and by “opposing” moves to accommodate 11,000 Bru voters living in refugee camps in Tripura.

Chuaungo, a Mizo officer, had then been summoned to Delhi and make an appearance at the home ministry office. Mizo organizations retaliated, painted Chuaungo as a “Mizo hero” and Shashank as a Bru sympathizer.

Bru refugees had fled Mizoram in 1997 after ethnic clashes and have been living in six refugee camps across Tripura ever since. There have been several attempts to resettle them but none have been fruitful so far — the Bru refugees have been demanding a better rehabilitation package and an assurance of safety before they make their way back to Mizoram.

While the agitation against Shashank was on, a threemember EC team had arrived here and held discussions with the NGO Coordination Committee, which had organized the protest. The talks were inconclusive and after suspending the stir for a few hours, the NGO Coordination Committee resumed its protest. The Federation of Mizoram Government Employees and Workers, the apex body of state government employees, had told the visiting EC team that state government employees would not cooperate until Shashank was transferred out of the state. They had set a November 9 “deadline” for the EC to decide on its course of action.

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