Aizawl: Mizoram’s NGO Coordination Committee (NGOCC), an umbrella body of major civil societies and student bodies, staged protests across the state on Friday seeking a change in the date of counting of votes for state assembly polls.
Hundreds of men and women including the youth took part in protests, which were addressed by NGOCC Chairman Lalhmachhuana, General Secretary Malsawmliana and other leaders.
Terming the EC’s “silence” over their demand “unfortunate”, Lalhmachhuana said that the demonstrations have been organised to safeguard the Mizo community and their religion.
The NGOCC chairman requested political parties to keep their offices shut on Sunday, the day of counting of votes.
He also urged representatives of the parties and candidates not to turn up at the counting centres on December 3 as a mark of protest. The main protest demonstration was held at Treasury Square near Raj Bhavan in Aizawl while similar protests were organised in other district headquarters.
The protests were staged after a 5-member delegation of the NGOCC on Tuesday met the EC officials in New Delhi and demanded to reschedule the date of counting of votes from Sunday, December 3, to any other day.
Since the announcement of the election schedule for five states on October 9, all ruling and opposition political parties, church bodies, NGOs, and civil society organisations in the Christian-majority state (87 per cent) had been requesting the EC to reschedule the counting date as Sundays are sacred for Christians and most people in the state attend church services on the day.
The All Mizoram Churches Coordination Committee has everyone in the state, including politiccal leaders, not to gather together anywhere except for Church service on Sunday (December 3), if vote counting date is not changed.
Meanwhile, the EC has already started the process of counting of votes on December 3. For counting of votes, over 4,000 counting personnel have been engaged and they were provided training. These personnel would be posted at 40 counting halls in 13 counting centres across the state.
Polling for the 40-member Mizoram assembly was held on November 7. More than 80 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise to decide the electoral fate of 174 candidates, including 16 women.