The All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) said on Sunday that the Election Commission’s disinclination to reschedule the polling date of February 27 (Sunday) to another convenient day is strongly condemnable.
The tribal student also cautioned that if the Election Commission fails to “favourably consider the appeals of the civil society organisations and Church organisations on or before February 10, the ATSUM will be constrained to make an adverse decision which will be detrimental to the smooth conduct of the ensuing election”.
The apex tribal student body said that the decision of the election commission to conduct polling on Sunday has invited serious objection from the civil society organisations and Church organisations in Manipur. “In fact, all the tribal people and thousands of Meitei Christians have taken it as an affront to the Christian community as it has badly hurt their religious sentiment,” the ATSUM said in a statement.
The ATSUM had already pointed out that the decision to conduct the poll on Sunday would prevent many citizens from casting their votes as Sunday is a day for rest and worship, and is also considered holy and sacred. “Since the Election Commission espouses participation of all eligible citizens to exercise their adult franchise, the ATSUM had opined that it would be in everyone’s interest if the Election Commission reschedules the polling on a day which will allow maximum people to cast their votes, which will in turn promote the democratic standard of the country,” the tribal student body added.
However, it said that the repeated appeals made to the Election Commission in this regard seems to have fallen on deft ears and it does not augur well for the ensuing election.
The ATSUM then said that the state government has also failed to understand the wish and desire of the Christian community of the state. “It is worth mentioning that the polling date in Punjab has already been rescheduled with the active support of the state government. However, the state government in Manipur fails to exert enough pressure to the election commission. Therefore, if the Election Commission fails to favourably consider the appeals of the civil society organisations and Church organisations on or before February 10, the ATSUM will be constrained to make an adverse decision which will be detrimental to the smooth conduct of the ensuing election,” the tribal student body cautioned.