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Nagaland Remains Tense As Protesters Demand Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang's Resignation

The Nagaland Tribes Action Committee also announced an indefinite shutdown of government offices.

03/02/2017 10:16 PM IST | Updated 03/02/2017 10:26 PM IST
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KOHIMA -- An uneasy calm continued to prevail in the state with the Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) on Friday vowing they will practice restraint only after T.R. Zeliang steps down as Chief Minister.

The NTAC, an apex body of various tribal Naga communities, also announced an indefinite shutdown of government offices and a ban on plying of government vehicles starting Saturday till Zeliang bows to their demands.

The streets of Nagaland capital Kohima turned into a fortress as Assam Rifles staged a flag march after a mob on Thursday night went on the rampage and set afire the old secretariat building which housed the offices of Kohima Municipal Council, Regional Transport Office and Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority and also damaged government vehicles.

The tribal bodies are demanding the resignation of Zeliang's cabinet following the government's decision to hold local body elections in 12 towns across the state and the death of two persons in the state following clashes between the police and the public at Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland on Tuesday night.

"The situation is still tense and it was an incident-free Friday in Kohima and Dimapur. We are keeping a close watch to ensure that there is no further breakdown of law and order," Nagaland Police Chief, L.L. Doungel told IANS.

The bodies of two persons, who were killed in police firing in Dimapur on Tuesday night, were buried this evening after members of the NTAC met Governor P.B. Acharya at Raj Bhavan.

The leaders of the powerful committee also submitted a memorandum demanding the immediate resignation of the Chief Minister and his council of ministers for holding the urban local body elections, which the government later declared as "null and void".

During the meeting, the Governor promised "action against wrongdoers as per the constitution".

Zeliang had termed the demand for his resignation as "unreasonable" and "unconstitutional".

"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," Zeliang said.

However, Naga People's Front legislator Neiphrezo Keditsu on Thursday submitted his resignation as Chairman of Nagaland State Mineral Development Corporation (NSMDC) Limited on moral grounds since one of the persons killed in the Dimapur police firing was from his village.

Former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who is the lone Lok Sabha member from Nagaland and who attended the funeral service of the two victims, said that no government should go against the voice of the people.

"The government should have listened to the voice of the people against the conduct of the local body elections rather than forcing people to hit the streets," Rio told IANS.

"We will go ahead with our indefinite shutdown of government offices and banning plying of government vehicles starting from Saturday till Zeliang bows down to the demands," NATC convener K.T. Velie told IANS.

Private and government educational institutions besides shops and private vehicles have have been exempted.

Meanwhile, the government continued to shut down the internet and mobile data service to stop the spread of rumours through social networking sites.

"We will assess the situation. The internet and mobile data service will be restored once normalcy is restored," a government official said.

The Kohima district administration also imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC banning assembly of more than five persons and carrying of arms in certain areas including Raj Bhavan, Chief Minister's official residence and the Civil Secretariat.

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