Editorial

Drama in Mizoram

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/6/2018 11:46:47 AM IST

 Mizoram goes to the polls on November 28 and a lot has happened during the past few days, notably – resignation of the speaker and veteran Mara politician Hiphei from the house,Congress party and joining the BJP and the controversy surrounding the ouster of principal secretary (home) Lalnunmawia Chuaungo IAS of Gujarat cadre by the Election Commission of India. What has however shaken the Mizos was the controversy surrounding the actions of the state Chief Electoral Officer(CEO) S.B.Shashank. At the heart of the dispute between the Election Commission and Mizo civil society lies the question of voting rights for several thousand Bru refugees(from Myanmar) who fled ethnic violence in Mizoram and settled in camps in neighbouring Tripura. The tiff between Principal Secretary(Home) Lalnunmawia Chuanungo and CEO Shashank was over the latter’s decision to permit refugee Brus to vote inside the six refugee camps in Tripura and ordering deployment of large number of CRPF in the state to ensure smooth conduct of polls.The issue over Bru voters is that 32,000 of them who fled to Tripura from Mizoram in 1997 and were once again called back to their home state-Mizoram.However, the Supreme Court instructed the Mizoram government to not go ahead with the proposed repatriation process. Brus are lodged in six relief camps in North Tripura district. On July 2 this year, another repatriation of Mizoram’s Brus officially ended.This was the eighth such attempt since 2009. Mizos are unhappy with the ECI decision to allow Brus to cast votes inside refugee camps or through postal ballot.They demand that Brus return back and those in the electoral roll only can vote in Mizoram and not in Tripura. Shashank had okayed voting by Brus inside refugee camps in Tripura, citing ECI order but which had not gone down well with the entire state. The Mizos by and large, consistently maintain that those not residing at a particular place for a certain period cannot enter their names in the electoral roll.Again when Shashank asked for more CRPF companies for election duty,Chuanungo objected to requisition of central forces without informing the home department. Further it was pointed out that when Mizoram elections are the most peaceful, there was no need for such a huge force. Even as the chief minister Lalthanhawla and NGOs resented Shashank’s actions. The CEO went further when he reported directly to ECI against Chuanungo. As a result, the ECI ordered the Mizo IAS officer(on deputation from Gujarat) out of Mizoram and to report to the ministry of home affairs.It is unfortunate that the ECI has chosen to act in a vindictive manner against the Mizo officer without giving him time to explain.The action of the ECI smacks of political motive since the commission has been projected as being close with the government at the Centre.This belief stems from recent actions of the ECI with regard to notification of poll for Gujarat and delay in effecting poll conduct in Rajasthan where the BJP got a few hours to announce poll sops. The BJP is trying hard to gain a toehold in Mizoram riding on the back of the MNF. However the actions of the ECI and the CEO have only confirmed the power play in the country today.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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