Friday, October 16, 2009

Citizens demand voting rights for seafarers

Citizens demand voting rights for seafarers
Citizens demand voting rights for seafarers


Denial of voting rights to thousands of Goan seafarers and those working abroad dominated the hearing of the Goa Assembly Ad hoc Committee on Law and Election held in the district Collectorate building here on Saturday.
Also, the registration of migrants on the electoral roll in Goa and the large scale discrepancies in the EPIC cards also figured prominently at the hearing, prompting Chairman of the Committee MLA Francis D’Souza to ask the Electoral officers to take serious note of the irregularities.
Citizens demanded to know why seafarers are denied the voting right when they are Indian citizens and bring in foreign exchange to the country by their employment abroad. It was pointed out that when the seafarers come home with the rich foreign exchange, they find to their surprise their names missing from the electoral rolls.
Chief Electoral Officer Srivastava said this question was placed before the Election Commission for a solution, but citizens and even the Committee Chairman said it needed to be addressed with all seriousness.
D’Souza said the Committee would submit to the concerned department all suggestions made at the hearing to give seafarers right to vote. He said this sensitive question cannot be ignored and brushed aside and called for a solution to the problem. “The concern expressed by the people will be certainly reflected in the in the Ad hoc Committee report. This question is of great concern, where citizens of this country are not allowed to vote. I hope the government is seized of the matter and takes it up with the concerned authorities,” he added.
The question of names of migrants figuring in the electoral rolls also figured prominently at the hearing. Shiroda MLA Mahadev Naik sought to know how people from different religion and caste can be enrolled on the electoral from a single house and called for a probe in the matter.
Similar queries were raised by J J Mascarenhas, Melson Luis and others, which later prompted the Chief Electoral officer Srivastava to tell the people that the hearing is not a question-answer session and he cannot give the details on the spot.
Chairman of the Committee however, said the Election Commission should be careful while scrutinizing the documents and ensure they do not enroll their names at two places. “Utmost care should be taken where doubts are raised and when complaints are lodged against migrants. It is in the interest of Goa that special attention and care is paid to such matters,” he asserted.
On the question of delimitation of panchayat and municipal wards, D’Souza said the State Election Commission ought to be careful while delimiting the wards by taking into account the geographical boundaries
Taking into account the whole lot of queries on deletion of names from the electoral list, D’Souza sought to know from election officials why the concerned person is not intimated before his or her name is deleted by the authorities.

1 comment:

  1. Indian Seafarers are also Indian Citizen. They are not to be deprived of their voting rights. Its high time the CHIEF ELECTION COMMISSIONER looks into it fairly. This deprivation of voting rights is a cause of very much concern. Owing to this the Politicians in power neglect their viewing seafarers welfare but for the Christian missionary, which is biased to the Christians.

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