Time for Naga women to assert their rights: NSCW
DIMAPUR, SEPTEMBER 24
THE Nagaland State Commission for Women (NSCW) said it is high time for Naga women to assert their rights with courage and conviction and to take recourse to these when the need arises.
“We have to discard our passive attitude and refuse to remain victims of our own fears and uncertainties. We have to come out and fight for due justice as guaranteed in the law of the land,” NSCW Chairperson Dr Temsula Ao said this in her keynote address at an awareness campaign on ‘Statutory Right of Women’ at Salt Christian College Dimapur on Tuesday. Dr Temsula said in the backdrop of the fact that Naga men still persist in their rigid stance that women should remain subordinate to men in affairs of governance in the village councils and overall decision making in the family as well.
“And it is here that the law of the country comes into conflict with the traditional foundations of our villages,” she noted.
On the other hand, she said, women seem to subscribe to this view because they are unable to raise their voices of dissent in the cases of domestic violence, unjust ruling in divorce and custody of children.
She added that in many instances women are unable to stand up for her rights because of both family and societal pressures which include domestic violence cases , rape, attempted rape and molestation.
She, however, hoped that men and women will be able to work together in the near future by bringing new insights in their structures of governance in all the level of societal structure for a more equitable Naga society.
Though laws are enacted by the Parliament and State Legislatures, the implementation is left to the individual States and in some cases implementation of various laws becomes a sensitive issue, she explained.
She also said though ours is a patriarchal society, Naga women enjoy certain status and they are not subjected to physical abuse on account of dowry which is much practiced and prevalent elsewhere in the country.
The NSCW chairperson also stated that today many Naga women occupy important positions be it in administration, education, medical profession, police services and even in the armed forces. “Girls are no longer confined within their homes and fields but are now moving beyond the traditional women jobs such as teaching, nursing and being secretaries only,” she noted. She expressed happiness that the girls are also given equal opportunities for studies or pursuing various professions and they are contributing to the society tremendously.
The legal awareness campaign was organized by NSCW. Dr Temsula also said the NSCW, which is fighting for the rights of women, is not against all men but are against those men who try to harm women and go against the legal rights granted to women, citing that not only women but many progressive men have helped to bring in such laws for women. She hoped that in the near future there will be more such thinkers in the Naga society and the Nagas as one will fight together for an equitable society.
Dr Temsula Ao said the Commission has been engaged and is organizing legal awareness programmes in the State since its inception in 2007 in order to spread awareness among the women, especially the younger women. Of late, awareness campaigns on women’s rights were held in colleges in Peren, Kohima, Mokokchung, Longleng, Wokha and Zunheboto.
Speaking on the topic “Role of police in safeguarding women’s rights” as a resource person, Additional SP Dimapur Watichuchang Jamir said crimes against women in Dimapur district is on the rise with 14 cases recorded in 2008, 25 in 2012 and 26 till date in 2013.
Watichuchang said though the Constitution of India has given equal rights to women as men, be it political or economic, women are still deprived of many things and are intimidated or victimized in so many ways.
He also informed that considering the rise in the number of rape cases and other issues related to women, the police department is planning to upgrade certain measures to safeguard women through trainings.
He was of the view that scientific investigation should be upgraded for better and proper investigation rather than using the third degree method.
Another resource person Lydia Yeptho, Legal Consultant, NSCW, highlighted certain articles and sections from the Constitution that protect and give special rights to women, saying these are not only confined to the deprived or low class people but are applicable to all women. He spoke on the topic “Statutory Rights of Women”.
Noting that Nagaland today is witnessing regular rape cases but without legal evidences to prove the rapists guilty, Lydia said the guilty is bailed out as under the law no one can be held guilty without any legal evidence. So, the best weapon or tool is to educate the women on legal rights and procedures granted to women by the Constitution of India, he said.
Later, the participants also had an interaction with the resource persons. The programme was chaired by the principal of Salt Christian College Dimapur, Dr RS Maurya while the vote of thanks was delivered by NSCW member Kakheli Jakhalu.