Mizoram bodies threaten to stop election

Election Commission. File photo

The influential NGO Co-Ordination Committee in Mizoram on Monday threatened to stop election for the state's lone Lok Sabha seat if the Election Commission did not reconsider its move to set up special polling stations for Bru refugees living in relief camps in neighbouring Tripura.

A meeting of the committee, comprising the influential Young Mizo Association on Monday decided to go on an indefinite strike from April 8 to stop peaceful conduct of the election.

The committee is so influential that it forced the Election Commission to replace S B Shashank with Ashish Kundra as chief electoral officer, Mizoram, before the Assembly elections in November last year.

They were miffed over Shashank's alleged move to allow the Bru voters to cast their votes in their relief camps in Tripura.

The committee also prevented residents in Aizawl from taking part in this year's Republic Day celebrations during their protest against the NDA's Citizenship (Amendment) bill.

The committee is against Election Commission's move to set up polling booths at Kahnmun in Mizoram's Mamit district, bordering Tripura for the Bru voters, as was done in the Assembly elections on November 28. They demand that the Bru voters must vote in their own polling stations in Mizoram.

They said that since many Bru voters are unwilling to return to their native villages in Mizoram, the election commission should not set up special polling booths for them in the Lok Sabha polls.

Over 32,000 Bru refugees had fled their homes in Mizoram's Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts in 1997 following an ethnic clash. Of these, 12,014 are voters.

The NGO committee also asked vehicle owners not to allow their vehicles to be requisitioned by the administration for election purpose.

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