The Nagaland government Thursday night decided to withhold the election process to 12 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) following clashes that left two persons dead and several others injured since last evening and during bandhs called by tribal bodies opposed to the polling.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh rang up Chief Minister TR Zeliang to enquire about the law and order situation in the state.
“Keeping in view the sentiments of people, and the prevailing situation, the state cabinet decided to ask the State Election Commission (SEC) to withhold the ongoing process of elections to the ULBs,” an official release said.
Subsequently, State Election Commissioner Sentiyanger Imchen directed to withhold the ongoing process of elections to 12 ULBs where polling was supposed to be held today.
The cabinet decision followed violence that claimed two lives and left several others injured, following which the tribal organisations demanded resignation of the government.
In Dimapur, two persons were killed and at least three were injured as a crowd gathered near the private residence of Zeliang and the police tried to stop them last night.
In interior Longleng, seven were injured after police opened fire in order to prevent a mob from entering the office of the deputy commissioner in the evening, officials said.
The clashes began following the goverment’s decision to hold ULB elections despite opposition by tribal bodies.
These organisations have been opposing the ULB elections with 33 per cent reservation for women, stating that it infringes on the special rights for Nagaland guaranteed by Article 371(A) of the Constitution.
However, despite the boycott call by the tribal organisations, polling for nine Town Councils were held without any disturbance, the officials said.
The cabinet also decided to set up a judicial commission to probe the incidents leading to the deaths and injury to others at Dimapur and Longleng last evening and payment of ex-gratia to the victims.
Meanwhile, CMO officials said that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up the Chief Minister and told him that the decision to fulfil the constitutional obligation of holding elections to the civic bodies was not wrong.
He, however, asked Zeliang to convince people of the state to accept the reality.
Nagaland Governor PB Acharya, presently in Itanagar for his additional gubernatorial assignment, also rang up the Chief Minister and conveyed his concern on the turn of events.
Meanwhile, the bandh called by tribal bodies today was marked by violence as unruly volunteers ransacked government offices and torched vehicles in Kohima and Mokokchung.