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Nagaland Unrest: Protest Continues as CM Zeliang Refuses to Resign; Mob Torch CM's Properties

Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang has refused to resign following the death of two persons in anti-ULB (Urban Local Bodies) poll agitation in Dimapur and appealed to the people to stop violence and not fall prey to rumour mongers.

A statement issued by CM Zeliang’s office reads, “Making unreasonable and unconstitutional demands such as asking the entire Cabinet to tender resignation when the Ministry has undisputed, unquestionable majority and support of the entire Assembly, is simply unacceptable and non-negotiable.”

On Thursday, the Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC), representing different tribal organisations, had served an ultimatum to the state chief minister and his entire cabinet to resign by 4 PM for going ahead with the ULB polls despite opposition from powerful tribal groups that are against 33% reservation for women in the municipal bodies.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju is likely to meet the protesters (NTAC) to ease tension in the state. It is officially not yet known on where and when the meeting will happen.

Violence erupted after Zeliang rejected NTAC’s demand. The Kohima Municipal Council building, State Election Commission and Deputy Commissioner’s offices were vandalised and set on fire.

The Regional Transport office and that of the Excise Department were also set ablaze by violent mobs demanding Zeliang’s resignation and his entire cabinet for going ahead with the ULB polls.

In view of the violence, the Kohima District administration has promulgated prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC in certain areas including Raj Bhavan, Ministers’ Hill, and Jail Colony.

“The curfew came into effect from 9:30 on Thursday and would continue till further order,” a notification said.

“The Government is of the considered opinion that it has been lenient enough to give in to the demands of the agitators (withholding ULB polls) even though it was steadfastly abiding by the Constitution to which it had sworn its solemn allegiance,” the CMO statement said.

Zeliang appealed to all not to indulge in vandalism and arson destroying public properties and spreading fear and panic in the minds of the peace-loving citizens of the state.

Resorting to violent activities to convey one’s point of view is irrational and has no place in a civilised modern society, he said.

The Chief Minister also urged users of social media to desist from spreading rumours as untruths were being fed to innocent people by people with vested political interests.

The statement said MLA of Northern Angami Constituency Neiphrezo Keditsu was forced to tender his resignation as the Chairman of Nagaland State Mineral Development Corporation on moral ground as one of the two persons killed in Dimapur happens to be from his own village.

Apart from him, no other legislator has resigned and Chief Minister enjoys full support of not only the NPF and Independent MLAs but also of BJP legislators, it said.

(With PTI inputs)