Lal Thanhawla
Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla.Press Information Bureau

Mizoram is in a state of turmoil after people thronged the streets of Aizawal, demanding the removal of the state's chief electoral officer, S B Shashank before the state's general elections on November 28.

On Tuesday morning, protesters gathered at the Treasury Square and went on to block the roads for hours, reports Hindustan Times.

The demands to remove Shashank began when the electoral officer filed a complaint against the principal secretary (home), Lalninmawia Chuaungo and got him fired. He had accused Chuaungo of interfering with the electoral rolls of refugees from Bru living in Tripura.

Chuaungo had opted to allow the Bru refugees to vote from their camps rather than follow the government's order to return to Mizoram to vote.

The Bruh refugees had been driven out of Mizoram due to ethnic tensions in 1997 and have been living in refugee camps in Tripura since then. The government wants the members of the Bruh community to cast their vote in Mizoram.

Chuaungo had voiced his opinion of letting the Bruh refugees cast their votes from Tripura itself which angered the Chief Election Commissioner, Shashank. This led him to file a complaint against Chuongo.

Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee asked Shashank to quit or be removed by November 5.

On Tuesday, Shashank did not come into the office and has reportedly been given extra security.

The protesters started chanting slogans for 'Save Mizoram'. According to the report by HT, they believe that the latest move by Shashank could create a communal divide.

The report went on to say that at least 25,000 to 30,000 people had gathered to demand Shashank's removal.

"Shops and business establishments remained shut and commercial vehicles also remained off the roads. Similar protests took place in other district headquarters and towns. We will decide our next course of action soon. A meeting with the EC on the issue is also planned," Vanlalruata, president of the Young Mizo Association told HT.

The state's political parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have extended their support to the protesters.

Mizoram's Chief Minister, Lal Thanhawla also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday seeking the removal of Shashank.

He wrote, "With the complete loss of confidence in him by the people, the only solution for smooth conduct of assembly elections, 2018, now would be the removal of SB Shashank from his office forthwith."

The state's BJP president J V Hluna has also shown his support to the protesters and asked PM Modi to 'neutralise the situation; HT reports.