Normal life across Nagaland was severely affected following a bandh called by several tribal organisations opposing holding of election to the municipal bodies of the state by providing reservation for women and demanding postponement of the elections. The elections are slated for February 1.
While the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) comprising of various Naga tribes and spearheading the agitation called for a 12-hour bandh in Dimapur district on Saturday, it also stated that the bandh would resume on Monday if the government did not cede to its demand.
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The bandh has also been called separately in different districts by different organisations. In Kohima district that also covers the state capital, the bandh has been called by the Angami Youth Organisation. In Kiphire district, the bandh has been called by the Kiphire District Joint Co-ordination committee comprising of United Sangtam Likhum Pumji, Tikhir Tribal Council and Kiphire District GB’s Association. In Phek district, it is the Chakhesang Youth Front.
Various tribal bodies including Naga Hoho, the apex organisation of all major tribes, have been opposing the civic elections after the government decided to reserve 33 per cent seats for women. There contention is that granting 33 per cent reservation for women would infringe on Naga customary laws and tradition as protected under Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India.
Meanwhile majority of the candidates have already withdrawn from the election following pressure from the tribal bodies. While the ruling Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) and BJP – both allies – however have refused to withdraw their nominees, the state government has rejected the demand for postponement of the elections.