Kohima: Violence continued in the Nagaland capital on Thursday with those opposed to the ongoing elections to urban local bodies (ULB) vandalising the State Election Commission and Deputy Commissioner’s office and setting on fire the Kohima Municipal Council building.
The office of the Excise Department was also set ablaze by violent mobs demanding the resignation of Chief Minister TR Zeliang and his entire Cabinet.
Over a thousand tribesmen armed with spears and machetes took to the streets and set ablaze the old secretariat building which housed the offices of Kohima Municipal Council, Regional Transport Office and Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority and damaged government vehicles.
- The Nagaland government’s decision to hold local body elections in 12 towns across the state drew ire of the Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC), representing different tribal organisations.
- The tribal bodies had been opposing the Naga People’s Front government’s decision to hold the elections with 33 percent women reservation, stating it infringes on the special rights for Nagaland guaranteed by Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.
- ULB elections have been due in the state for over 16 years. In 2012, these bodies had pushed the state Assembly to pass a resolution not to hold the ULB polls even though an amendment to the Municipality Act 2001 was passed in 2006 providing for quotas to them.
- Anger was also brewing in Nagaland since the killing of two protesting youths in police firing at Dimapur on Tuesday. It grew further after the bodies were brought and kept in the heart of Kohima town on Wednesday evening.
- Under pressure from NTAC, Zeliang declared the election process null and void and also transferred the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police of Dimapur to facilitate an impartial inquiry into the firing incident.
- Troopers of Assam Rifles have been deployed in Kohima to assist police to tackle the situation.
- The state government has shut down Internet and mobile data service to stop the spread of rumours through social networking sites