The election for Urban Local Bodies (ULB) has a mandated 33% women’s quota, which is strongly protested by a coalition of the various native tribes – the Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) – on the basis of their culture restricting women’s participation in governance, reports the Times of India.
The NTAC had been demonstrating throughout the week, after a court order on Saturday had the government declare that the municipal elections in 12 of the 32 municipal bodies were on for Wednesday.
On Tuesday, a NTAC protest turned ugly as protesters hurled stones at the chief minister’s house in Dimapur. Police responded by firing at them, killing two and injuring at least 10, reports NDTV.
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Concrete rings used to block roads[/caption]
Vehicles were torched and a number of government offices were attacked, which led to Section 144 being enforced throughout Kohima and Dimapur.
The death of the two protesters ignited Kohima – the capital of Nagaland – leading to a mob torching the offices of the municipal council and district commissioner. The protesters also demanded the bodies of the deceased be paraded around the city and the chief minister step down.
Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang was in Itanagar during the protest, and has yet to respond to the increasing list of demands by the NTAC, and the municipal elections on Wednesday were finally called off.
The additional NTAC demands include the immediate suspension of all police involved in the Tuesday shooting and discussion of their issues with State Governor PB Acharya, who also was in Itanagar.
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Over 5,000 people attended the funeral of the two people who died during the protests[/caption]
Disputing women’s representation in the government, the tribes cited Article 371 (A) of the Indian Constitution, claiming the ULB mandate violates their native rights.
The two dead in the protests are being touted as “Naga martyrs” by the protesters, and the NTAC claims they will not be buried until the government acquiesces to the tribes’ demand.
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A torched car in Nagaland[/caption]
The NTAC has called a “bandh” (strike) throughout the state until their demands are met. The strike is being observed, as the empty roads and closed shops testify.
In retaliation, the government has deployed five army columns in Nagaland. A state-wide ban on mobile internet is also in effect.