Two persons lost their lives due to police firing in Dimapur on Wednesday as a repercussion of the violent protests by tribal groups.
Hundreds of protesters opposing the government’s decision to hold elections to urban local bodies in the state; marched on the streets of Dimapur and marched towards the private residence of Chief Minister TR Zeliang on Tuesday night. When police resorted to lathi charge, protesters pelted stones and even used Molotov cocktails.
“They were trying to storm the private residence of the chief minister. In order to stop them, police used all possible means but they started pelting stones and even used Molotov cocktails. As the last resort, police had to open fire,” Nagaland DG of Police LL Doungel told India Today.
Tribal groups have been opposing the state government’s decision of granting 33% reservation to women in the local bodies. They have been saying that the decision infringes upon the special rights given to tribes under Article 371 (A) of the Indian Constitution. In Nagaland, different tribes have a different set of laws governing the people. They are customary and hence cannot be generalised.
Although women’s group in Nagaland have long been vocal for greater participation in public bodies. However, the 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.
This protest against the quota is being led by the Joint Co-ordination Committee (JCC), an umbrella body of all tribal groups in the state. On Wednesday, protestors rallied with the bodies of the two deceased and demanded the resignation of the chief minister.
In the aftermath, 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.