Ruling NPF accuses government employees of funding Nagaland agitation

Kohima, Feb 15 (IANS) The ruling Naga People’s Front on Wednesday accused some government employees of funding the indefinite shutdown imposed by the tribal groups across Nagaland over Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang decision to conduct the civic elections with 33 per cent reservation for women.

The Nagaland crisis has been on since January, after the NPF-led government decided to hold local body elections in 12 towns across the state.

The government later declared the civic elections as “null” and “void”.

Three persons were killed and many injured following clashes between police and the public, who were opposing the civic polls.

“It has been confirmed that some of the government servants are even funding the agitation which is unbecoming of government employees,” NPF, Central (Media and press Bureau, said in a statement.

The statement said the party was observing and recording the involvement of government servants who are participating and contributing money, materials and other logistical support to wage war against the government.

The move came as agitating tribal groups in Nagaland on Wednesday served a fresh ultimatum to Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang to resign or face further protests over his decision to conduct civic bodies elections with 33 per cent reservation for women.

In a related development, legislators of the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) are in a huddle to discuss the “change of guard” in the wake of the prevailing law and order situation in the state.

On Tuesday night, the legislators also met at the official residence of Zeliang and deliberated on their plan of action if the agitating groups — Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) and Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) — further intensified their agitation.

“There is a possibility of change of guard, if the tense situation in the state refuses to subside. Some of the NPF legislators have put in their signature to replace Zeliang with NPF President Shurhozelie Liezietsu,” a NPF legislator, who wished not to be quoted, told IANS.

When IANS tried to contact Zeliang and Liezietsu for their comment, they did not pick up their phones.

In the 60-member house, the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland coalition government, which comprises 48 NPF legislators, including suspended legislator Imkong Imchen, four Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and eight independents.

“We are giving him (Zeliang) another three days time to resign gracefully. We hope that he accedes to the demand of the people,” NTAC Convener, K.T. Velie told IANS.

“We are not bothered who is going to replace Zeliang as Chief Minister since the NTAC and JCC are apolitical groups. We cannot allow a person who has blood stains on his hands and betrayed the people and the church to lead our state,” Velie said.

He said the JCC and NTAC have also resolved that all apex tribe bodies should call their respective legislators to withdraw their support to Zeliang on or before February 17, failing which the tribe bodies would debar those candidates from entering within their jurisdiction in the next election.

In fact, NPF legislator Neiphrezo Keditsu had resigned as Chairman of Nagaland State Mineral Development Corporation Limited on moral grounds since one of the persons killed in the Dimapur police firing was from his village.

Meanwhile, normal life remained paralysed as the indefinite shutdown sponsored by the tribal bodies entered the third day on Wednesday after Zeliang refused to accede to their demand and step down. Their three-day ultimatum in this regard ended on February 10.

Former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who is also the lone Lok Sabha member from Nagaland, briefed National Security Adviser Ajit Doval about the current situation with regard to the civic bodies elections.

–IANS

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