Aizawl, Nov. 5, 2018: The administration of Mizoram plans to reach out an influential Church body to address a demand for the removal of the state’s chief election commissioner.
An apex NGOs committee has set November 5 as the deadline for the ouster of S B Sashank leading to an unprecedented socio-political and administrative crisis in the Christian-majority northeastern Indian state.
Mizoram will elect its legislative assembly on November 28.
The crisis arose after the election commission ordered the removal of Principal Secretary Home Lalnunmawaia Chuaungo, a Gujarat cadre IAS officer on deputation to Mizoram, who is accused of disturbing smooth, free and fair election process.
The commission’s order against Chuaungo, a local Mizo official, signed by secretary S B Joshi, was taken following formal complaints from Shashank.
The state administration plans to meet the agitating body and an influential church body on November 5 at the state capital of Aizawl.
On November 4, a high-level meeting in Aizawl decided to hold separate meetings with the NGOs Committee which comprises the influential Young Mizo Association (YMA) and leaders of Church conglomerate Mizo Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC).
State Chief Secretary Arvind Rai presided the meeting which was attended among others by the new Home Secretary Lalrinliana Fasai, and DGP Balaji Srivastava.
The first meeting has been scheduled in the morning with the YMA-headed NGOs Committee while the civil and police officials intent to deliberate with the Church leaders from at least 16 major groups in the afternoon.
The issue relates to Shashank’s allegedly ‘subtle support’ to the cause of Brus or Reangs.
The apex body of the Bru refugees had in October appealed to Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat to set up polling booths in relief camps in Tripura so that they could exercise franchise in the Mizoram assembly election.
Mizo groups and public leaders have held this demand ‘unjustified’ and said the Brus ought to vote in “normal polling booths only” if have been ‘repatriated’ to Mizoram and are to take part in the elections in Mizoram.
“Why such special arrangement can be made, this is undemocratic,” YMA president Vanlalruata told United News of India news agency.
No sooner the news of replacement of the Home Secretary by the Election Commission reached Mizoram on November 2 evening, the influential civil society body — the Mizoram’s NGO Coordination Committee — set the deadline for Shashank’s ouster.
The umbrella Organisation of Mizoram’s major civil societies and student bodies accused Shashank of ‘working against the efforts’ by all stake holders to ensure free, fair and peaceful polls to the 40-member state assembly.