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ECI panel to look into Mizos’ demand for ouster of State CEO

 NEW DELHI, Nov 7 - Election Commission of India (ECI) Wednesday set up a high-level committee headed by a Deputy Election Commissioner to hold talks with protestors seeking ouster of the Mizoram poll panel chief, reports PTI.

In a statement, the ECI said it has accepted the broad contours of the resolution passed by the Mizoram NGOs coordination committee, spearheading the protest, after its delegation’s deliberations with the EC.

“The Election Commission has also decided to depute a high-level team led by Mizoram Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain to hold further deliberations on their resolution,” the statement said.

Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer Lalbiaktluanga Khiangte, who is also a Mizo, has been included in the EC panel.

The ECI set up the panel hours after the protests demanding the ouster of Mizoram Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) SB Shashank were called off in Aizawl by the NGO Coordination Committee Wednesday.

The protests were called off at 1 pm after the State Election officials, including the Mizoram CEO, summoned by the ECI, left for New Delhi, State NGOs coordination committee chairman Vanlalruata said.

The CEO left for New Delhi by an evening flight.

Earlier in the day, Shashank said he has been summoned by the Election Commission and would meet the poll panel in the national capital Thursday.

The agitation demanding his removal was launched Tuesday. It was resumed Wednesday morning by a large number of Young Mizo Association members demonstrating in front of the CEO’s office from 8 am. The protestors later dispersed.

The Mizoram is slated to go to polls November 28 to elect its new Assembly.

Vanlalruata said the NGOs’ coordination committee would wait and watch the decision taken by the ECI on the State CEO.

“If Shashank comes back, the agitation will be relaunched,” Vanlalruata said.

Aizawl Correspondent adds: Mizoram CEO SB Shashank left the State today to report to the Election Commission of India, a day after thousands of Mizos held a protest rally in the State capital here and other major towns demanding his removal.

Shashank said he has been summoned by the poll panel. “I will meet the Commission in New Delhi on November 8,” Shashank said before he left Aizawl.

The ‘Save Mizoram’ protest demanding transfer of Shashank still continued with hundreds of volunteers holding demonstration in front of the Election office.

The meeting of a visiting Election Commission team, State Government officials and leaders of the NGO Coordination Committee on the current standoff here on Tuesday night remained inconclusive as the EC team said that the final call would be made by the Commission.

The team members said that they would submit their findings to the Commission.

NGO leaders said that Shashank should be transferred from Mizoram and the Bru voters in Tripura relief camps should exercise their franchise in their respective polling stations in Mizoram.

The agitators are also protesting the removal of the State’s principal secretary (Home) Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, a native of the State and Gujarat-cadre IAS officer.

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