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Protesters burn government buildings in India's Nagaland

  • Published at 04:32 pm February 3rd, 2017
Protesters burn government buildings in India's Nagaland

Hundreds of protesters marched in a state capital in India's northeast on Thursday after setting ablaze half a dozen government buildings to protest a state government decision that would reserve 33% of seats for women in local municipal elections.

Officers in the police control room said police and paramilitary reinforcements were rushed to protect government property in Kohima, the Nagaland capital, as the protesters marched to the building housing state government offices, reports Associated Press.

They were blocked by the heavy police presence, but the demonstrators also burned several cars and attacked the house of a relative of the state's top elected official before dispersing after a day-long protest.

They demanded the resignation of TR Zeling, the top elected official, for deciding to implement a court ruling that would reserve 33% of seats for women in local municipal elections. The protesters say the ruling would infringe on tribal laws and traditions that bar women from participating in politics, reports AFP.

Elections scheduled for February 1 were postponed. On Tuesday, police fired at protesters in the commercial hub of Dimapur, killing two and injuring 10.

A Press Trust of India report said that the protesting tribal organisations allege that the state government's decision to reserve seats for women in local elections infringes their special rights under India's constitution.

"There is anger among the people. Unless the situation improves, we will continue our protests," Kevichata Sechi, a senior representative of a protesting tribal organisation told Hindustan Times.

Dozens of armed tribal and guerilla militias operate in India's seven northeastern states, including Nagaland.

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