Naga Group Calls Shutdown In Eastern Nagaland On Voting Day, ENPO Urges 20 Mlas To Remain 'Indoors'

(MENAFN- IANS) Kohima, April 18 (IANS) A day before polling for Nagaland's sole Lok Sabha seat, a Naga group on Thursday called an indefinite shutdown in the entire eastern part of the state from Thursday evening while the Eastern Nagaland Peoples' Organisation (ENPO) has urged the 20 legislators from the area to remain indoors on polling day to "prevent any untoward incidents".

While the Election Commission has made all-out efforts for Friday's polling, the shutdown call by the Eastern Nagaland Public Emergency group and the "abstention call" by the ENPO and its associate organisations, which have been demanding a separate administration or state comprising six backward districts since 2010, is likely to affected polling in the six districts of eastern Nagaland, comprising 20 of the 60 Assembly seats.

However, the Eastern Nagaland Public Emergency has exempted the government officials on election duty, officials of the district administrations and other emergency services from the purview of the shutdown.

The ENPO urged the 20 MLAs of eastern Nagaland to remain "indoors" on Friday.

In a joint statement, signed by all 32 office bearers and President R. Tsapikiu Sangtam, said that the appeal

is being made on behalf of the entire people of eastern Nagaland, seeking their understanding and support regarding "a matter of utmost importance to our community".

"In all sincerity and in good faith, we wish to remind our esteemed Eastern Nagaland Legislators' Union (ENLU) members that our intention is to avoid any misunderstandings or unnecessary confrontations on polling day," it said.

Sangtam earlier said that the people of eastern Nagaland are unhappy with the indifferent attitude of the governments and the treatment meted out to them by both the Central and state governments and "had chosen to express their dissatisfaction at the highest level".

The agitating ENPO, in support of its demand, has imposed a "public emergency" since March 8, affecting normal activities.

It has dismissed separate appeals from the state government, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton, and his BJP, a partner of the United Democratic Alliance government, and the ENLU to participate in the elections.

Of Nagaland's 16 districts, seven backward tribes -- Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Phom, Tikhir, Sangtam, and Yimkhiung -- live in the six eastern districts of Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator, and Tuensang.

The ENPO and its associated organisations had also given a call to boycott last year's Assembly polls (February 27) but later withdrew it following an assurance from Union Home Minister Amit Shah.



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