Naga strike: Call for TR Zeliang resignation grows as protesters intensify action

The pressure on Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang to step down following his government's decision to hold urban local body elections with 33 percent reservation for women is growing. Protesters on Monday upped their agitation against the government calling for complete shutdown of the government machinery, Hindustan Times said on Monday.

"We are putting volunteers on the streets across the state to stop government vehicles. Government offices have been asked to shut down voluntarily," Kevichata Sechi, vice-president of Angami Youth Organisation (AYO), who have led the protests in the state's capital, Kohima, told the newspaper.

Representational image

Representational image

Several tribal bodies have been protesting against the election since early January (when the nominations began) because of the 33 percent reservation for women, which they claim infringes on the special rights for Nagaland guaranteed by Article 371(A) of the Constitution.

Though the protest initially was limited to AYO and few other organisations like Chakhesang Youth Front (in Chakhesang region) and Chakhroma Public Organisation, but the calls for Zeliang's resignation has intensified with the Hohos (an almost sovereign government for Nagas) of different tribes and two newly formed forums like Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) and Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) joining the protest.

Zeliang had earlier tried to calm the protesters by declaring the urban local bodies' election as "null and void". He had even asked the prime minister to immediately passed and ordinance and later amend Part IX-A of the Constitution to exempt Nagaland while holding municipal elections, but to no avail.

According to The Indian Express, the chief minister has called a consultative meeting of all tribal bodies on Wednesday to find out ways to resolve the current impasse. He has "invited respective Hohos of all tribes including the apex Naga Hoho, Eastern Naga People’s Organisation (ENPO), Angami People’s Organisation (APO), Ao Senden, Chakhesang Public Organisation (CPO) and Nagaland Gaonburra Association to the consultative meet to be held in Kohima," it said.

However, any solution seems unlikely as the Naga Hoho seems to have made up its mind about the Zeliang government.

“The present government does not listen to the voice of the people, can treacherously betray its own commitments made in the presence of our highest sacred institution, and even goes to the extent of taking the lives of the son of the soil,” the Indian Express said quoting a strongly-worded statement issued by the Naga Hoho.

It also accused the Zeliang government of being blind and deaf to the cries of the people, the report said.

Updated Date: Feb 07, 2017 19:26 PM

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