Seventh Day Christians against polling on Sabbath

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Aizawl, Oct 16 (UNI) The Seventh Day Adventist Christians and the Mizo-Jew community in Mizoram have expressed resentment against the Election Commission's fixing November 29, a Sabbath day, for polling for the state Assembly elections.

The Seventh Day Adventist Mizoram Conference, the Church of God International, the Church of God Seventh Day and the Bnei Manashe have made a joint appeal to the Election Commission to either change the polling date or extend the duration of voting.

''We have submitted a letter to the Chief Election Commission to at least open the polling stations after sunset, if changing the date is impossible,'' a Seventh Day Adventist leader told UNI here over phone. Copies of the letter were submitted to the Mizoram Governor, Chief Minister Zoramthanga and all political parties here.

''If our request is not fulfilled, we will have no choice but to refrain from voting,'' the church leader said.

The Seventh Day Christians observe the Sabbath (Saturday in Gregorian calendar) as the day of rest and worship in accordance with the Old Testament.

The Mizoram Presbyterian Church-sponsored Mizoram People's Forum will also make similar appeal to the concerned authorities, MPF sources said.

A similar incident had taken place in 2005 in Mizoram in which the polling date for bye-elections to two constituencies fell on Sabbath following which the duration of the polling day was extended till 2000 hours after requests from the Christian groups and the Pradesh Congress.

''Appointing a Sabbath, which is a worship day for Seventh Day Christians, as a polling day is not acceptable in a Christian state like Mizoram. We will request the ECI to reschedule the date or extend the voting hours,'' Congress spokesman and ex-MLA Lalsawta told UNI.

UNI ZS DPM RN1542

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