With the election tempo reaching its crescendo across Nagaland, major political parties have anticipated violence in the run-up to the March five assembly polls and asked authorities to take appropriate measures to ensure law and order.
Expressing concern over reported incidents of violence, particularly attacks on its party workers, Nagaland Peoples Front (NPF) president Shurhozelie and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio alleged the Congress has resorted to malpractices and used state machineries taking advantage of the President's Rule imposed in the state.
The duo alleged the Congress was "hell bent to rig the poll using the state machinery and underground elements" as there were similar charges against CLP leader I Imkong in his home constituency Jangpetkong in Mokokchung district.
Rio told newsmen in Kohima that Congress leader K Therie on Friday took help of Assam Rifles in herding together all villagers of Pfutserom in Phek district in the name of searching for underground cadres.
"We have no objection in checking underground activists from the election process but why should innocent villagers be harassed to fulfill his desperate bid to win the poll ?" Rio asked.
On the other hand, AICC general secretary, in-charge of Nagaland, Margaret Alva blamed the NPF for the spurt in violence, saying such incidents might go up in next few days.
Stating that Congress had brought to the notice of the Governor and the CEO about the pre-poll violence 'orchestrated by rival parties', Alva urged the authorities to take steps to ensure peaceful elections and hoped underground groups would not interfere in the electioneering.
NPCC president Hokheto Sumi said he was surprised to see how money was being used by rival parties in the election turning the whole democratic exercise into a mockery.
Although various underground groups officially announced they would not interfere in the elections, there were reports of involvement of underground cadre in support of individual candidates from various parts of Nagaland for past few days.
Amid reports of pre-poll violence and alleged involvement of underground groups in the electioneering, Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapur yesterday visited Nagaland and reviewed the security scenario with top army commanders and Assam Rifles officials here.
Defence sources said Kapur, who called on Governor K Sankaranarayanan, lauded the efforts of IGAR (North) and asked the formation to continue with the operation against militants to prevent any untoward incident in the run-up to the poll.
Continuing its stepped up operation against anti-socials ahead of the poll, Assam Rifles on Thursday arrested another 13 people, including 10 underground cadre from various factions, and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition.
In two cases of frisking of vehicles, security forces also seized Rs 18 lakh and Rs 3 lakh, Assam Rifles said on Friday.
A joint team of Assam Rifles, IRB and army arrested a person from an NSCN-IM hideout and found a huge cache of explosives, ammunition and war-like stores, it said.
AR personnel deployed at Jotsoma by-pass near Kohima yesterday also seized Rs 18 lakh along with contraband ganja and liquor from three vehicles.
Earlier, Assam Rifles had arrested 20 people, including underground activists, from different parts of the state since it launched operation last week to preempt any disruption.