Violence continued in the Nagaland capital on Thursday as a mob went on rampage, burning down several government properties and vandalised government vehicles in protest against Chief Minister TR Zeliang's refusal to meet their demand on local body polls.
Over a thousand tribesmen armed with spears and machetes took to the streets and set afire the old secretariat building which housed the offices of Kohima Municipal Council, Regional Transport Office and Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority and damaged government vehicles.
The tribal bodies were demanding the resignation of Zeliang's cabinet following the government's decision to hold local body elections in 12 towns across the state and the killing of two persons in the state following clashes between the police and the public at Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland on Tuesday night.
Naga People's Front legislator Neiphrezo Keditsu on Thursday submitted his resignation as Chairman of Nagaland State Mineral Development Corporation (NSMDC) Limited on moral ground since one of the person killed at Dimapur police firing happens to be from his own village.
"The situation is totally volatile. The mobs are on rampage. We are making all attempts to bring the situation under control," Nagaland Police Chief, L.L. Doungel told IANS.
Troopers of Assam Rifles have been deployed in Kohima to assist police to tackle the situation.
The tribal bodies vowed to continue with their protests till Chief Minister Zeliang steps down.
The state government has shut down internet and mobile data service to stop the spread of rumours through social networking sites, a government official said.
Zeliang, who said he is distressed by the unfortunate turn of events in the last few days, asserted he enjoys the full support of not only his party legislators — the Naga People's Front and Independent legislators besides the BJP legislators and party have also reaffirmed their support.
On the demand of his government's resignation, Zeliang said: "Making unreasonable and unconstitutional demands such as asking the entire cabinet to tender resignation when the ministry have undisputed, unquestionable majority and support of the entire assembly, is simply unacceptable and non-negotiable."
Confirming the resignation of Keditsu "owing to immense pressure from various quarters" on moral ground, he said no other legislator has resigned.
Appealing to citizens not to indulge in senseless vandalism and arson destroying public properties and spreading fear and panic in the minds of peace-loving citizens, he said that the government had been lenient enough to give in to the demands of the agitators even though it was steadfastly abiding by the Constitution.
He also appealed to all social media users to be responsible and desist from spreading false, malicious rumours.
"Governments come and go, and people in authority change but public property, which belong to all of us, shall continue to belong to us and posterity. It would be sheer stupidity on our part to destroy our own property since it would be akin to cutting off our own limbs," said a statement from his office.
The tribal bodies have been opposing the Naga People's Front government's decision to hold the elections with 33 per cent women reservation, stating it infringes on the special rights for Nagaland guaranteed by Article 371 (A) of the constitution.