Aizawl, April 7: Normal life was affected in Mizoram Monday as six NGOs and student groups called for a three-day shutdown and boycott of the April 9 election to the lone Lok Sabha seat from the state to protest postal ballot facility to its refugees living in Tripura, officials said.
A police spokesman said that though normal life was affected, there was no untoward incident anywhere in the state, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh.
The shutdown affected the movement of polling officials ac ross the state, said an Election Commission official.
Offices, shops, markets and other institutions remained closed in the capital city Aizawl. Most vehicles, except those of security forces, were off the roads, police said.
Six voluntary organisations and students’ groups led by the Young Mizo Association (YMA) called the 72-hour state-wide strike and urged people to boycott Wednesday’s polling.
“We launched the agitation as the Election Commission ignored our demand not to allow tribal refugees in Tripura to cast their votes in relief camps through postal ballot,” YMA spokesman J. Lalsailova told reporters.
Of over 36,000 Reang tribal refugees living in seven camps in Tripura for the past 17 years after fleeing their villages in Mizoram, 11,500 were on electoral rolls in Mizoram and 71 percent of them voted through postal ballot.
“In view of a threat given by NGOs in Mizoram to obstruct counting of postal ballot papers in Aizawl, the Election Commission has decided to count them in Kanchanpur (north Tripura) May 16,” Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate Nantu Das told IANS.
The Reang tribals – locally known as ‘Bru’ – fled their villages in Mizoram and took shelter in neighbouring Tripura in October 1997 after an ethnic conflict broke out with the majority Mizos over the killing of a Mizo forest official.