GUWAHATI: As the axe is likely to fall on poll-bound Mizoram's chief electoral officer (CEO) SB Shashank, the Mizoram Bru Displaced People Coordination Committee (MBDPCC) alleged that the Mizo NGOs were going for the IAS officer's jugular as he was “ensuring justice” to the displaced Brus who are an ethnic minority group.
The Election Commission (EC) has more or less taken a decision to remove Shashank. The panel on Saturday began the process to find alternatives for the under-fire poll official.
Earlier, in a meeting held in Mizoram capital Aizawl, a high-level EC delegation, headed by Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain, purportedly assured the protesting Mizoram NGO Coordinating Committee (MNCC), which is a conglomerate of some Mizo civil society organisations, that Shashank would be removed in a “couple of days”.
The MBDPCC alleged that Shashank had been targeted by the Mizo groups as he was making sure the displaced Brus could participate in voting at the relief camps in Tripura like previous elections and that not a single eligible Bru voter is left out of the electoral rolls.
"Shashank had earlier visited the refugee relief camps in Tripura for the purpose of revision of e-rolls. There was no revision of the e-rolls since 2015. It was also under his direction that the e-rolls were being revised in four districts of Mizoram where the Brus have sizeable populations. So, the government first removed the district magistrate of Mamit where the Brus are in a large majority. Then, the Mizo NGOs started targeting the CEO," MBDPCC president Laldingliana Reang told The Sunday Standard.
He said the allegation against Shashank was that he was giving undue advantage to the Brus.
“We said he was not doing anything illegal. He was going by the rules as laid down in the Constitution. He was treating all communities equally. We have always said that no eligible Bru voter should be left out of the poll process whether he or she is living in Mizoram or in a relief camp in Tripura,” Reang said.
However, the MNCC pointed out that the election was for Mizoram legislative assembly and not that of Tripura. If they want to cast their votes, let them come to Mizoram, MNCC leader and president of influential Young Mizo Association, Vanlalruata, insisted even as he accused the CEO of acting arbitrarily and dividing the Mizo society.
“He (Shashank) sent an election team to the relief camps in Tripura which is beyond his jurisdiction. Then, he lodged a complaint against our principal secretary (home) Lalnunmawia Chuaungo saying he was interfering in the poll process. He was dividing the Mizo society,” Vanlalruata alleged.
Chuaungo, a Mizo IAS officer of Gujarat-cadre, was transferred to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs by the EC.
turbulence ahead of elections
■ State chief electoral officer S B Shashank had reportedly sought deployment of additional central armed police forces and complained to the EC that former principal secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo was interfering with the poll process
■ Chuaungo, a native of Mizoram and a Gujarat-cadre IAS officer, was relieved of his duties earlier this month
■The NGO Coordination Committee — a conglomerate of civil societies and student organisations — along with other political leaders, had been demanding Shashank's exit
■ The NGO demanded that 11,232 Bru voters lodged in six Tripura relief camps be allowed to exercise their franchise at polling stations in Mizoram and not in Tripura, as EC had said