Stir against Mizoram Chief Election Commissioner

An apex body of NGOs staged protests in Aizwal against the removal of Principal Secretary (Home) Lalnunmawia Chuaungo and demanding the removal of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) in election-bound Mizoram.

The Election Commission, meanwhile, called the CEO to discuss the situation, which was said to be returning to normalcy after the Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee (MNCC) called for state-wide protests for the sacking of CEO S.B. Shashank, after Chuaungo was removed on an Election Commission order.

A three-member Election Commission team comprising Jharkhand CEO L. Khiangte, Election Commission Director Nikhil Kumar and Commission Secretary S.B. Joshi had visited Aizwal, after meeting leaders of the MNCC, Church bodies, Election officials and civil and police officers to normalise the situation.

According to officials of the state election department, Shashank left Aizawl yesterday afternoon to meet Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat and other Election Commissioners in New Delhi. The protests started on Tuesday, as a collective of NGOs organised a state-wide protest against the removal of Chuaungo.

Shashank last week removed the Principal Secretary (Home) from his post for “dereliction of duty and interference in election process”. The CEO in his report to the Election Commission reportedly said that Chuaungo, a 1987-batch Gujarat-cadre IAS officer, was creating obstacles so that Reang tribals, sheltered in Tripura for over 21 years, could not vote in the November 28 polls to constitute the 40-member Assembly.

The MNCC, led by Mizoram’s most powerful NGO Young Mizo Association, in a statement urged the people to continue their protests until Shashank was removed as the CEO and Chuaungo was reinstated. The two main political parties in the state, the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP, are also backing the protests.

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