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2 killed, several injured in Nagaland clash

IANS | Kohima |

Two persons were killed and nearly a dozen injured in Nagaland late on Tuesday night following clashes between the police and public in the wake of the state government's decision to hold the urban local body elections.

The local elections in 12 towns across the state began on Wednesday morning even as tribal bodies called for shutdown to prevent the conduct of polls.

Polling in the towns began at 7 am and will end at 3.30 pm.

"Polling is on. I cannot comment anything now," Chief Electoral Officer Senti Yanger said.

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 the special rights for Nagaland guaranteed by Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.

Hundreds of people armed with spears and machetes took to the streets in protest on Tuesday night. Many of them marched to the private residence of Chief Minister TR Zeliang in Dimapur.

"The police resorted to firing to disperse the agitating crowd after the protesters attempted to storm the Chief Minister's residence," Nagaland Police chief L L Doungel said.

He said the district administration had imposed curfew in Dimapur district, the commercial hub of Nagaland.

On the other hand, there were reports of seven others sustaining injuries in police firing in order to prevent the demonstrators from entering the office of District Magistrate Longleng.

The crowd also damaged polling materials of all the 11 polling stations.

The state government had on Monday signed a deal with the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) – an umbrella organisation of tribal bodies opposed to holding the elections – to postpone the polling by two months.

However, the Guwahati High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to constitute the municipalities and town councils in Nagaland with 33 per cent reservation of seats for women.

The court also directed the Nagaland government to provide security to the candidates and voters.