Protesters on Monday shut down Nagaland government offices and blocked movement of official vehicles demanding the resignation of chief minister TR Zeliang as a crisis deepened in the northeast state over reserving 33% seats for women in local body elections.
The chief minister has refused to step down.
The Kohima Municipal Council office was set ablaze by Naga tribals during their violent protest in Kohima on Friday. (PTI)
Organisations representing a majority of the Naga tribes are opposing the quota for women in elections saying the move contravenes customary tribal laws.
The protesters are seeking the chief minister’s ouster holding him responsible for the decision to hold the elections and the subsequent violence.
In Kohima and Dimapur, protesters were out in the streets from early morning to prevent movement of government vehicles and stop work in offices.
The gates of the Nagaland civil secretariat in Kohima remained locked and the usually busy complex wore a deserted look. Most other government offices also remained closed.
A deserted street during the bandh call in Dimapur on Friday, a day after Naga tribals set ablaze the Kohima Municipal Council office and the office of the district collector during their violent protest. (PTI)
“Monday’s bandh passed (off) peacefully. But we will continue with it till the CM steps down. If that doesn’t happen, we might be forced to take other course,” said KT Vilie, convenor of the Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC), an umbrella body of several groups.
Kevichata Sechi, vice-president of Angami Youth Organisation, said volunteers were on the streets to stop government vehicles. “Requests were also made to government offices to shut down voluntarily,” Sechi added.
The NTAC had, however, exempted educational institutions, police stations, central government offices, banks, health centres and several other establishments from the shutdown.
Police said security personnel were deployed across the state to prevent breakdown of law and order.
“Since the situation is volatile we wanted to exercise restraint so that there is no further damage to government property and no more lives lost,” Nagaland director general police LL Doungel told HT.
The state government has called a meet with tribal organisations on February 8 to “discuss the various problems and issues arising out of the ULB elections”.
The Congress blamed the Nagaland Peoples’ Front-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government for the crisis and sought imposition of President’s rule in the state.
“It is best for Nagaland to have President’s rule and fresh assembly polls as the state government has completely failed to understand the aspirations of the people,” K Therie, state Congress president told journalists in Kohima.
Congress, which doesn’t have a single MLA in the 60-member assembly, wants the present situation to be resolved through consensus by amending the Nagaland Municipal Act.