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Civil society groups call off agitation as CEO leaves Mizoram

Mizoram

Civil society groups call off agitation as CEO leaves Mizoram

Aizawl: The agitation launched by major civil society organization and student bodies to remove state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SB Shashank has been called off on Wednesday afternoon after the latter left for Delhi on being summoned by the Election Commission.

The CEO left for Delhi by air around 3:30 pm.

Demanding the removal of Mr. Shashank after the poll panel removed state principal secretary (home) Lalnunmawia Chuaungo due to complaints raised against him by the former, the influential NGO Coordination committee, an umbrella body of major civil society organizations and students Association in the state launched state-wide protest since Tuesday.

Thousands of people picketed in front of the CEO’s office here on Tuesday demanding that the CEO be removed.

Earlier the NGO Coordination committee had served ‘quit Mizoram notice’ to Shashank and asked him to leave the state by November 5 for allegedly acting against the interest of the people.

The committee alleged that the CEO has lost public confidence to carry out the task of conducting free and fair elections in the state.

They decided to resort to any sort of protest till the CEO leaves Mizoram.

On Tuesday night, a three-member delegation sent by Election Commission held a meeting with leaders and representatives of civil society groups on the current standoff. But the meeting remained inconclusive as the EC team said that the matter would be put up before the Commission and that final call would be made by it. This prompted the NGO coordination committee to resume agitation from 8 am on Wednesday.

However, the agitation was called off around 1 pm after the CEO set to leave for Delhi.

NGO Coordination Committee chairman Vanlalruata said that the agitation has to be called off as the CEO has departed for Delhi which is their main demand.

Before leaving for Delhi, Shashank said that he was suggested by the poll panel to go to Delhi where he will meet officials of the commission on Thursday.

He did not know whether he will return to Mizoram or remove from his post as the final decision rest with the commission, he said.

He added that he was simply carrying out his duty on the directive of the EC and has no intention to hurt the sentiments of the local people.

On a written commitment made by the EC in April 2014 that the Bru voters should be asked to cast their votes inside the state in future elections, Shashank said that the EC will honour and stand by its word.

“Reports that Bru voters are allowed to exercise franchise inside their camps in Tripura is just a rumour as the commission is yet to make final decision on this regard,” he said.

Meanwhile, the EC has on Wednesday deputed a team of officers led by deputy election commissioner Sudeep Jain to discuss various issues related to ensuing Mizoram assembly polls.

The EC team will have meeting with leaders and representatives of civil society groups on Friday.

Civil society groups have asked the EC team to stick to a written commitment made by the EC in April 2014.

Sources said that the EC has made a written commitment before the Lok Sabha polls in 2014 that a provision would be made to ensure that Bru voters exercise their franchise within Mizoram in future elections.

mm

Editor, Zoram Observer. We publish news from Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Assam and rest of Zoram world.

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