DIMAPUR, Jan 29 - After the Nagaland Cabinet decided to go ahead with elections to municipal and town councils scheduled for February 1, the apex tribe organisations in several districts of the State have called for total State-wide bandh on January 28 bringing the entire State to a grinding halt. The bandh will resume on January 30 and continue till February 1, the scheduled date for polling.
Commissioner and Secretary to Chief Minister, Himato Zhimomi, in a release informed that the Cabinet discussed at length the appeals made by various organisations for deferment of elections to municipal and town councils and decided that the elections cannot be deferred and shall be taken to logical conclusion as per provision of law.
The government also asked the district administrations and police to make adequate arrangements for smooth conduct of the elections. However, the State Government said it is ready for dialogue with tribal hohos and other organisations to explain the position of the government.
The Cabinet also discussed the boundary fencing by Myanmar Government at Pangsa in Mon and decided to have a Naga Summit in Kohima in February to take up the matter with all Naga tribal hohos from Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar.
Various tribe organisations demanded deferment of the elections in order to resolve certain aspects of the Nagaland Municipal Act including 33 per cent women reservation.
In Dimapur, the bandh on January 28 was total with no untoward incident. However, some volunteers harassed media persons despite being exempt from the purview of the bandh. Vehicular movement remained minimal during the bandh.
The issue of harassment of journalists was brought to the notice of Nagaland Press Association, Central Nagaland Tribes Council and Joint Coordination Committee which had called the bandh to ensure that no media persons on duty should be harassed.
The training programme for returning officers scheduled on Saturday at Dimapur Government College was abandoned as a large number of volunteers occupied the college entrance and prevented entry by erecting barricades.
Passengers travelling by trains and planes were stranded. Those travelling by bus from Guwahati, Shillong, Mon, Tuensang, etc., had to get down at Lahorijan bordering Dimapur and wait till the bandh eneded.
In Kohima, despite nil candidates from the Angami community for the civic body polls under Kohima district, the Angami Public Organisation imposed the bandh.
All 18 candidates for Kiphire Town Council polls have decided to back out from contesting the February 1 elections.