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Mizoram NGOs Rally for Vote Counting Reschedule: Statewide Protests Announced

In a bid to voice their concerns over the counting of votes for the state assembly polls scheduled for Sunday, the Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee (NGOCC), representing major civil societies and student bodies, has decided to stage widespread protests across the state. The decision was reached during a meeting held on Thursday evening, as announced by the committee’s general secretary, Malsawmliana.

Discontent Over Election Commission’s Silence

The NGOCC expressed its disappointment at the Election Commission’s lack of response to appeals from various quarters requesting a rescheduling of the counting date. The primary concern revolves around the fact that the scheduled counting on Sunday coincides with the sacred day for Christians, who constitute the majority of Mizoram’s population.

Protest Plans Across the State

In response to the Election Commission’s perceived indifference, the NGOCC has planned massive demonstrations across the state on Friday. The purpose of these protests is to protect the sacred day of Christians, considering the ECI’s failure to respond despite appeals from political parties, churches, and the NGOCC itself. The proposed peaceful demonstration in Aizawl will take place at Treasury Square near Raj Bhavan between 11 am and 1 pm. Similar protests are also scheduled in other district headquarters under the leadership of the NGOCC.

Opposition to Counting on Sunday

The Election Commission had initially set December 3 as the day for counting votes for five states, including Mizoram. However, this decision faced opposition from political parties, NGOs, churches, and other organizations in Mizoram, citing the significance of Sunday as a religious day. Numerous appeals were made to the Election Commission to reconsider the counting date and avoid scheduling it on Saturday or Sunday.

Christian Majority’s Concerns

The 2011 census indicates that Christians make up more than 87 percent of Mizoram’s population. Given the religious significance of Sunday, there has been widespread concern among the Christian majority about the counting falling on this day.

Delegation’s Appeal to Election Commission

In an attempt to address the issue, a five-member delegation from the NGOCC met Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and other officials in Delhi on Monday. The delegation appealed to defer the counting date for Mizoram. Rajiv Kumar assured the NGOCC leaders that the matter would be discussed by the full members of the Election Commission soon.

Election Preparedness Despite Concerns

Despite the ongoing concerns and protests, election officials assert that the election department, police machinery, and the entire civil administration are fully prepared to conduct the vote counting on Sunday. The fate of 174 candidates, decided by more than 80 percent of over 8.57 lakh voters who cast their votes on November 7, hangs in the balance.

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