NPF president Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsü has urged upon both the leaders of Naga Mothers Association (NMA) and various apex tribe organisations to avoid confrontation and instead opt for the virtue of concession over the issue of holding civic polls with 33% women reservation.
In a statement, Dr. Shürhozelie mentioned about the past when Naga husbands treated their wives as equals and also took advice from them while decision making in the villages. He said women were assigned certain roles and responsibility it was considered taboo to violate certain perimeter set.
However, he said there has been drastic change where women today are free in many ways. He said in the past, it used to be taboo for women touch weapons but today the state has a Mahila Battalion(15 IR/NAP) where women in uniform are holding guns.
Dr. Shürhozelie also cited examples in sports where women have entered sports considered taboo such as wrestling and other events. He also cited achievements by several women from Nagaland, such as first woman politician late Rano who became Lok Sabha MP in the seventies; first woman chief secretary of the state Mrs. Banuo Jamir including several other women in the government many of who were heading departments.
Dr. Shürhozelie also stated that women were given quota in VDB in 1998 including certain fund earmarked for their empowerment.
Therefore, he concluded, that providing 33% women reservation in Urban Local Bodies was a normal thing and should be accepted.
He said the spark that ignited the ongoing conflict came through a representation by the NMA to the chief minister in 2012 wherein, it had stated that “….Reservation for women in local and urban decision making bodies of the Panchayati Raj and Municipalities has been guaranteed through the 73rd and 74th Amendment of the Indian Constitution, which supersedes Article 371 (A)”
He cited that former union law minister Asoke Sen had on August 28,1962 asserted that Article 371A has the unique legislative power of superseding all central laws.
Dr.Shürhozelie lamented that the very Act could be subjected to interpretations by lawyers or judges from the mainland who would only take a legal viewpoint and possibly even infringe upon the spirit of Article 371A.By agreeing to hold civic polls, Dr.Shürhozelie said the government was taking risk to implement 33% women reservation.
He opined that good sense should prevail and NMA should withdraw the case form the court and also tribe hohos also rethink about their objections for development of towns. (Full text on p-6)