EC cautions about ‘Kolasib incident’: Dy Elec Commissioner Jain to visit state

EC cautions about ‘Kolasib incident’: Dy Elec Commissioner Jain to visit state

New Delhi, Nov 8: The Election Commission has expressed its "serious concern" at the violent incident at Kolasib in Mizoram on Tuesday and maintained that keeping with the "ethos and tradition of peaceful society" in Mizoram, all stakeholders will work together to ensure peaceful conduct of elections in the state.

A large number of 'anguished Mizo people' had gathered in front of the Assam border in Kolasib district Deputy Commissioner's office protesting the 'enrollment' of about 500 Brus or Reangs from Tripura relief camps "without hearing".

T Arun had to intervene and ensure the angry mob that no enrollment will be done without the mandatory 'hearing' of the Reang or Bru refugees who want to shift to Mizoram as part of the agreement inked earlier this year.

"The Commission expects that keeping with the ethos and tradition of peaceful society in Mizoram, all stakeholders will sincerely work together so that no such incident recurs in future during the entire election process and elections are conducted peacefully with maximum participation as always," the EC said in a statement here.

Meanwhile, the 'full Commission' of the poll panel held a meeting here on Wednesday to deliberate on the vexed issue in Mizoram arising out of the demand for the 'ouster' of CEO S B Shashank.

The Mizo NGOs Coordination Committee has demanded that the CEO be replaced and Shashank is also made to quit the state at the earliest. The demand has been endorsed by the Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla and also the state BJP unit.

Shashank flew out of Aizawl on Wednesday afternoon for 'meeting' with EC top officials but no details are available on his interactions if any with the poll panel.

"No formal meeting between EC and Shashank is scheduled on Thursday," a source said.

EC has announced that in addition to a three-member EC team already camping in Mizoram capital, a new "higher level team" led by Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain will be visiting poll-bound Mizoram on Friday, November 9 to sort out the matter arising out of the demand for the ouster of the Shashank.

"The Election Commission has decided to depute a higher level team led by Sudeep Jain, Deputy Election Commissioner, to Mizoram to hold further deliberations," an EC spokesperson said.

Jain is the in-charge (on behalf of Mizoram) for the elections to be held on November 28.

The poll panel also announced that it has "accepted the broad contours of the resolution" passed by the NGO Coordination Committee of Mizoram after deliberation with the EC delegation in Aizawl on Tuesday evening.

A three-member EC delegation comprising CEO Jharkhand L Khiangte, Nikhil Kumar, Director at Election Commission and S B Joshi, Secretary Election Commission and top NGO leaders including representatives from the potent Young Mizo Association (YMA) , led by the Chairman Vanlalruata, and top Mizoram government officials, including Chief Secretary Arvind Ray , met in Aizawl on Tuesday evening.

But the deliberations did not make much headway as the civil society leaders insisted that Shashank should be first made to leave his post and the state.

The protestors under the aegis of YMA and Mizoram NGOs staged noisy protest outside office for the second day on Wednesday but withdrew the stir after they came to know that Shashank has left for Delhi in a direct flight.

On November 2, the EC transferred out a Mizo IAS officer and the then Principal Home Secretary Lalnunmawaia Chuaungo following complaints from CEO Shashank, who later said he has only followed the rules as the senior officer was interfering in the affairs of conduct of election process in the state.

Mizoram civil society leaders have accused Shashank of being 'pro-Brus' as he tried to implement a decision to set up polling stations in Bru refugees relief camps in Tripura and also had ordered extra central forces from outside Mizoram.

Mizoram leaders and social activists want that the Brus should be made to vote in designated polling stations inside Mizoram as other Mizo residents and others do whenever they are are outside their respective states.

"S B Shashank, CEO Mizoram, should be replaced and transferred from Mizoram immediately, to whom the people of Mizoram, the Mizoram government employees association, church leaders, journalists and all NGOs do not have confidence upon him to carry on the task of general elections of Mizoram to be held on November 28," said a statement by Mizo NGOs including the influential Young Mizo Association. (UNI)