Feminist groups flay anti-women stand of NTAC
Dimapur, Feb. 9: Delhi based women rights and feminist organisations namely Jagori Team and Saheli Women have taken serious note of the fierce opposition to women’s reservation of 33% seats in municipal and town council elections by the male dominated tribal bodies in Nagaland in the name of protecting their traditions and customary practices that bar women from participating in decision-making bodies.
The two organisations strongly condemned the anti-woman position of Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) that has been formed supposedly to “protect” Naga tribal practices. ‘While NTAC quotes Article 371(A) of the Constitution to assert that they are empowered to make their own laws, they chose to ignore Constitutional principle of equality before law, thus denying citizenship status to Naga women in the country,’ the organisations statement said.
In the present imbroglio, it accused NTAC of using threats and violence to desist women from filing their nominations, or even to withdraw their papers. It equally blamed the State government for remaining silent spectator and tried to wash its hands off on the issue of women’s representation in local bodies by calling the elections to local bodies under pressure from the tribal bodies by merely citing law and order concerns.
‘In the process, the State has become complicit in protecting patriarchal traditions to the detriment of principles of gender inequality. What is not being asserted is that Urban Local Bodies are not traditional Naga institutions recognised by Article 371(A) of the Constitution but rather, Constitutional bodies under Part IX of the Constitution over which the traditional Naga bodies have no mandate,’ it pointed out.
The organisations strongly condemned the ‘unconstitutional’ demand of the NTAC and the ‘succumbing’ of the state government to the pressures of this body. On the other hand, it expressed solidarity with the struggle of Naga Mothers’ Association and others who have consistently been fighting for the rights of Naga women for political representation in local bodies since 2006 when the Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act was enacted granting 33% reservations to Naga women in local bodies.
Meanwhile, the two organisations have demanded immediate resumption of the electoral process for Nagaland municipal and town councils. It also demanded that the State must stop colluding with powers that promote anti-women practices of communities.
It demanded that the State must implement the 33% political representation of women in local bodies with immediate effect, adding the State must uphold the rights of women, in this and other areas of law and governance.