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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Tripura Christian bodies “shocked”, “disappointed” at EC decision to hold tribal areas council polls on Easter Day

The Diocese of Agartala has requested the State Election Commission to reschedule the dates so that it does not clash with the religious practices of a community.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
March 4, 2021 4:00:00 pm
Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council pollsThe Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council polls is scheduled to be held on April 4. (Photo: Representational)

Christian bodies in Tripura said they were “shocked” and “disappointed” at the State Election Commission’s decision to schedule the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) polls on Easter Day (April 4).

In a statement issued on Thursday, Father Joseph Pulinthanath, spokesperson for the Diocese of Agartala, said, “The scheduled date of elections, 4th April, 2021, falls on Easter Sunday, which is the culmination of the weeklong obligatory observance of faith for all Christians around the world. Elections held on Easter Sunday would certainly hamper their whole-hearted participation in the electoral process.”

The Diocese has requested the SEC to reschedule the dates so that it does not clash with the religious practices of a community.

The United Christian Forum for Human Rights, too, issued a statement saying, “We celebrate Easter Day on that day. We want to register our objection to the declared date (April 4) and request you to kindly change it.”

Reacting to the statements, SEC secretary, Prasenjit Bhattacharya, said the poll body is yet to receive any letter on the issue. “We haven’t received any letter requesting a change in date of the TTAADC elections. As such, we can’t comment anything about it now,” Bhattacharya added.

The state Congress has also been protesting against the schedule, saying it was prepared to “deprive” a section of voters on the basis of their religious identity.

“It’s unfortunate that the SEC has fixed the poll date on a Festive day. This casts a doubt that the SEC dances to the tunes of govt with a design to deprive a section of voters who belong to a religious minority. Urge to change the poll date,” state Congress vice president, Tapas Dey, tweeted.

The opposition CPIM has also appealed to the election commission to examine the issue and consider changing the dates if the demands hold any value.

“If their demands are correct, the state election commission should examine the issue and consider it,” Tripura Left Front convener, Bijan Dhar, told indianexpress.com.

When asked about his party’s take on the issue, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee said he can’t comment anything at the moment as the matter hasn’t been discussed among their leaders yet.

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