Kohima, Feb 12: Tribal bodies in Nagaland said they would go ahead with their indefinite total shutdown starting from Monday to force Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang to resign.
The tribal groups, under the banner of Nagaland Tribes Action Committee and Joint Coordination Committee, have intensified their agitation after Zeliang refused to accede to their demand for his resignation and their three-day ultimatum in this regard ended on February 10.
"We have decided to go ahead with our indefinite shutdown to force the Chief Minister to step down for his decision to conduct the local bodies' elections, besides owing responsibility for the death of three persons," NTAC Convener K.T. Velie told IANS. Velie, however, said that educational institutions have been exempted from the purview of the shutdown.
Nagaland has been under turmoil since last month after the Naga People's Front-led government decided to hold local body elections in 12 towns across the state. Three people have died and many injured following clashes between the police and the public who are opposing the conduct of the civic elections, where there is reservation for women. Nagaland has never elected a women legislator since it gained statehood in 1963.
On the other hand, four NPF legislators -- Kropol Vitsu, Noke Wangnao, C.M. Chang and Namri Nchang -- asked party President Shurhozelie Liezietsu to "revoke the suspension orders" of lone Lok Sabha member Neiphiu Rio and sitting legislator Imkong Imchen to "pave the way for party unity and reconciliation at the most crucial time".
"The need of the hour is for the government to listen to the voice of the people and respond in a positive manner so that peace, order and administration can be restored in Nagaland as early as possible," the four legislators said.
Meanwhile, police said they were taking all precautions. "We have taken all necessary measures to ensure that there is no further breakdown of law and order in the wake of the indefinite shutdown starting from Monday," a police official said.
The government continued to shut down the internet and mobile data service to stop the spread of rumours through social networking sites. The Kohima district administration also imposed prohibitory orders 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.