The demand for the removal of Bhupesh Choudhary, the deputy commissioner of Mizoram’s Mamit district, intensified as a protest was held by major civil societies and political parties of the state on Wednesday. Organised by the Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee and all political parties, the rally demanded the transfer of Choudhary for conducting the revision of the voter list in the six Bru relief camps in Tripura.
The committee comprised of all the larger NGOs of the state including Mizo Students Union (MSU), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (Mizo Students Association), Mizoram Upa Pawl (Mizoram Elders Association) and Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (an apex body representing women’s groups in Mizoram).
The protesters held up signs saying, “We do not want a deputy commissioner who behaves rudely to our community!” and “We can’t let a person who disdains the community stay with us,” as they chanted slogans and demanded the removal of the deputy commissioner from Mamit district before September 10.
When contacted by the Indian Express, Choudhary chose not to talk too much about the issue. “I am just doing my job. I don’t have much to say,” he replied.
The discord started to flare up when Choudhary last month ordered the arrest of office bearers of CYMA (Central Young Mizo Association), Mizo Zirlai Pawl, Mizo Students’ Association, MSU, Taitesena Group YMA and Langkaih YMA in connection with a burglary at the office of the district election officer in Mamit district, in which voter enlistment forms duly filled in by the displaced Bru people in Tripura relief camps were stolen.
“The popular interest of the people of Mizoram should be respected which Bhupesh Choudhary failed to do so. While our appeal was not to conduct any election-related matter unless repatriation is done, words fell on deaf ears and Bhupesh ordered electoral roll revision in the Bru relief camps,” said Lalhmachhuana, secretary of the NGO Co-ordination Committee.
Speaking on the occasion, Vanlalruata, president of Young Mizo Association, the biggest NGO group in the state said, “We will keep fighting for the removal of Bhupesh Choudhary until our demand for his transfer is met. We wouldn’t let an official, who, despite our objection conducted the revision of the voter list in Bru relief camps stay in the deputy commissioner office.”
“While we asked for the revision to be undertaken only after the completion of the repatriation process in September 25, he did not heed our demands and disrespect the Mizo community,” he added.
A SIT headed by Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Mamit has been set up to probe the burglary with 11 people arrested in this connection according to the investigation team.
Meanwhile, various Bru organisations including Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Coordination Committee, Camp Defense Committee, Young Bru Association and representatives of various denominations of Christians and Hindus yesterday issued a statement condemning the Mizoram NGOs for opposing the electoral roll revision and urged the Mizoram government to make Mamit district deputy commissioner Bhupesh Chaudhary stay in charge till the repatriation is over.