No End To Mizoram Standoff, Protestors Demand Election Officer’s Removal

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Protests demanding removal of election officer SB Shashank are likely to continue in Mizoram

Guwahati:

The protests in Mizoram demanding the removal of chief electoral officer SB Shashank are expected to continue today as a meeting between activists and a three-member election commission team remained inconclusive on Tuesday.

"As the Election Commission is yet to decide on removing Shashank, the picketing of the chief electoral officer's office will continue tomorrow (Wednesday),"Vanlalruata, chairman of the coordination committee of the NGO leading the protest, said.

The election commission will take a final decision based on a report submitted by the three-member team.

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"I am very happy to say that we have developed a lot of mutual understanding. We appreciated each other's viewpoint. We are making a report. We will give it to the commission and they will take a decision," said Nikhil Kumar, director, Election Commission.

The activists remained steadfast on their demand that SB Shashank be transferred out of Mizoram and that Bru voters living in relief camps in Tripura, should exercise their franchise in their respective polling stations in Mizoram.

There is anger among a section of locals against what they claim are attempts by the administration to enroll Bru voters without proper procedures.

For instance, police said that on Tuesday, angry locals gathered in large numbers in front of the deputy district commissioner's office in Kolasib near Mizoram's border with Assam protesting against the alleged intention of the district administration to enroll 500-700 Brus who are in relief camps in Tripura.

No violence was reported as deputy commissioner Arun T assured local leaders that the claims of Bru voters from Tripura would not be entertained without a hearing.

Rallies were also taken out in all the other seven district headquarters and large towns while protestors carried out a total shutdown in Mamit town on the Mizoram-Tripura-Bangladesh border.

Elections to the 40-member Mizoram assembly are scheduled to be held on November 28 and the counting of votes on December 11.

(With inputs from PTI)

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