Army deployed as Nagaland tense over local body polls

Kohima (Nagaland) [India], Feb. 2 : In the wake of protestors torching government buildings for giving 33 percent reservations for women in the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections, five army columns have been deployed on Thursday to aid the government to prevent any untoward incident in Kohima, army sources said.

Curfew and Section 144 has been imposed in Dimapur and Kohima districts after a clash between the state police and a mob broke out against the state government's decision to hold elections.

Angry with the state government for deciding to hold polls on February 1 despite an earlier deal to postpone the election by two months, youths armed with spears and machetes had come out to the streets in protest.

However, tribal organisations in Nagaland were demanding the resignation of the TR Zeliang-led government after two people were killed and two others were injured in the state's commercial hub of Dimpaur when police fired on a mob comprising hundreds of armed youths trying to enter the private residence of the chief minister on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, elections to urban local bodies in 12 towns across the state were conducted amidst a shut-down called by tribal bodies opposing the polls.

The tribal groups have been opposing the state government's decision of granting 33 per cent reservation to women in the local bodies.

However, women's groups in the state have long been campaigning for greater participation in public bodies.

But tribal groups oppose it saying that such reservation will disrupt the traditional division of responsibilities between men and women in accordance to existing customary laws.

"The whole thing is that we have to go back to the history. The agitation is to protect our right. We are all born equal, I feel women reservation is not necessary in our state," said a local. Meanwhile, shops and government offices, educational institutions remained closed due to the indefinite bandh called by the JCC, since Tuesday night.

In Dimapur, angry protesters set ablaze a government vehicle for defying the bandh call. Thousands of youths armed with spears, machetes and catapults went on a rampage and burned down several buildings and ransacked others.

Source: ANI