EC summons Mizoram CEO, protests called off

EC summons Mizoram CEO, protests called off

Protest seeking Shashank's removal in Aizwal on Wednesday. photo by Puia Chhangte/ Aizawl

The protests since Monday demanding the removal of Mizoram chief electoral officer (CEO), S B Shashank, was called off on Wednesday “for the time being”.

This comes after the Election Commission (EC) summoned Shashank to New Delhi.

Members of the influential NGOs including Young Mizo Association (YMA) had blocked the office of CEO at Aizawl demanding his removal for his reported “pro-Bru refugee” stance and his role in the transfer of Mizoram principal secretary (home), Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, recently.

“Since Shashank has been moved out of Mizoram by the Election Commission, we have called off the protest for the time being. Our main demand is his removal and so we will wait for this and decide our next course of action accordingly,” Vanlalruata, president of Central YMA, told DH from Aizawl.

The 40-member Mizoram Assembly goes for elections on November 28.

Shashank had earlier defended Chuaungo’s transfer saying the latter was found “interfering” in preparation of electoral rolls for Bru refugees and deployment of central security forces.

More than 10,000 Bru voters have been languishing in relief camps in neighboruing Tripura since 1997, when they had fled Mizoram following an ethnic clash with the Christian Mizos.

The NGOs demand that the Brus should cast their votes in Mizoram and not in relief camps as is being planned by the EC.

The principal secretary had reportedly tried to stop an EC’s decision to allow Bru refugees cast their votes in relief camps.

Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla on Monday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking removal of Shashank saying that the CEO’s action was seen by people of Mizoram as an attempt to “belittle” the "commendable acts" of the civil society.

Sources said that the EC had rushed a three-member team to Aizwal on Tuesday but were welcomed with black badges by protesters.

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