An umbrella entity of major civil society organisations and student associations in Mizoram cancelled its proposed demonstration before the office of state chief secretary Renu Sharma from Tuesday to “prevent the official from attending office”, one of its leaders said.
The NGO coordination committee, the conglomerate of prominent civil society organisations and student bodies headed by the Central Young Mizo Association (CYMA), is demanding the appointment of a Mizo IAS officer for the top post.
“The proposed picketing called by NGO Coordination Committee to prevent chief secretary Renu Sharma from attending her office on Tuesday has been cancelled as the official is out of station,” it said on Twitter.
Earlier in the day, CYMA president R. Lalngheta told reporters that the NGO coordination committee had appealed to the vice-president, Prime Minister, Union home minister, state governor and the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) several times to appoint a Mizo IAS officer who will not have a language barrier to ensure administrative efficiency, “but to no effect”.
“We have decided to picket in front of the chief secretary’s office from Tuesday in order to demonstrate our disappointment as our several requests to the Centre to appoint a Mizo IAS officer as the chief secretary have yielded no results.
“The committee’s demand is an appointment of an indigenous Mizo IAS officer as long as there are eligible persons. We don’t expect to have a Mizo IAS officer as the chief secretary every time,” Lalngheta said earlier in the day.
The CYMA president pointed out that certain problems arose “as far as the administration is concerned due to the language barrier” when a non-indigenous person was appointed as the chief secretary. The committee, he said, has also urged the Centre to appoint a Mizo IPS officer to head the state police.
The umbrella organisation has also submitted petitions to the vice president, prime minister, and the Union home minister to create a separate All India Service cadre for Mizoram, he added. On 28 October last year, the Centre had appointed Renu Sharma, an Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre IAS officer of the 1988 batch, to take charge as the chief secretary of Mizoram.
The state government on the same day also issued a notification directing JC Ramthanga, additional chief secretary of the chief minister, to take charge as the chief secretary until further order.
Officials said that chief minister Zoramthanga had proposed Ramthanga's name as the chief secretary to the Centre much before Sharma was appointed.
A day after Sharma's appointment, Zoramthanga had written to Home Minister Amit Shah urging him to modify the Centre's order of appointing Renu Sharma as the Chief Secretary of the state and instead appoint a person, with knowledge of the Mizo language, as the chief secretary.
In the letter, the chief minister pointed out that none of the cabinet ministers understand Hindi and some even have problems comprehending English. With such a background, an official without the knowledge of a working standard Mizo language will never be an effective and efficient Chief Secretary, Zoramthanga had mentioned in the letter.