Why Delimitaion Is The Need Of The Hour - Eastern Mirror
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Why Delimitaion is the Need of the Hour

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By EMN Updated: Jun 18, 2020 11:59 pm

Covid-19 crisis has reminded us the grim reality of how for the past 57 years, since Nagaland statehood, the state structure has been exploited by only a few privileged section of the Naga society. More importantly, this crisis has also revealed the true colour of how this pampered section still shamelessly advocate for the continuation of this discriminatory state structure. One should be truthful, fair and rational in one’s mindset and approach; otherwise one day justice will turn blind on you when you are exploited. Thus far we are forced to accept that given discrimination is normal. However, there will always be people who will continue to fight for a just society.
The table below shows why delimitation is inevitable.
Source: Census of India 1971, Series 15-Nagaland (Part II-A), Controller of Publications, Delhi, pages 27-29 & Results of the General Elections of Nagaland (Seventh Edition), published by Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Government of Nagaland

The 1971 census was taken when Nagaland had only three districts, viz. Kohima, Mokokchung & Tuensang. The number of population during this time shows that the undivided Kohima district had a total population of in 175204, Mokokchung168242, and Tuensang 173003. However if we look at the detail distribution of the census in each district and locate the present standing of the districts, we get the population distribution as given in the above table.

We also find that in the 1971 census the two towns (Kohima and Mokokchung) were categories under Urban. These two urban populations were actually inhabited by people from the sub-divisions as well; however these populations were added in the districts headquarters of Kohima and Mokokchung. So in reality the two district headquarters will have lesser population than as indicated.

The following are the reasons why there is an urgent need of delimitation in Nagaland:

table 1
  1. Clear evidence of manipulation in the last delimitation exercise: The above table shows that there was a clear manipulation of 1971 census, 1974 & 1977 electoral rolls as is evident from the following facts:
    a. Champang Circle which is under Wokha district with a total population of 12834 (1971) was deliberately or erroneously included in the Tuensang district (Census of India 1971, p.29). If this figure is corrected the total population of Wokha district should stand at 51,131 and not only 38297.
    b. Population-electorate ratio shows inconsistencies. For instance, the population–electorate ration indicates that in Mokokchung district 89 out of 100 people were eligible for voting. Likewise 89 out of 100 people in Zunheboto; while Wokha had only 61 out of 100 people eligible for voting. This is despite the fact that in 1974 the eligibility criterion was 21 years of age (voting age was reduced from 21 to 18 years only in 1988 by the Constitution (Sixty-First Amendment) Act, 1988). This defies all population growth theories as population at any given time can never be 11 out 100 people below 21 years.
    Another interesting fact revealed by the data also shows that right after the delimitation was implemented in 1974, in 1977 the electorate in some districts drastically reduced. In Mokokchung the total number of electorate was reduced from 73647 (1974) to 48458 in 1977; Zunheboto was reduced from 38655 to 38570; Phek reduced from 38570 to 30683. While other districts increased steadily. For instance Wokha increased from 23490 (1974) to 29558; Mon from 49338 to 57537 etc.. This inconsistency only suggests one thing, “Electoral rolls were inflated to gain additional seats in the assembly during the time of delimitation, and it was immediately brought back to normal right after reaping the harvest”.
  2. Delimitation and Naga political talk are two different things: Practically speaking, delimitation is a micro problem while Naga solution is a macro problem for the Nagas. So if we cannot solve this minor problem, we cannot expect to solve the Naga political issue anytime soon. This point has been argued by many individuals and groups, therefore no further elaboration is required. It is only reiterated here that if delimitation is deferred on the ground of the Naga political talk, the same election should be deferred till the talk comes to logical conclusion. As long as elections are conducted under this discriminatory constituency arrangement, there is a strong ground to argue that delimitation and elections are conducted till such time the talk gives a new dispensation.
  3. The excuse that 2001 census is rejected cannot be an argument anymore as 2011 census is already accepted by the government of India. Following this, the Jammu & Kashmir delimitation Act based on 2011 census is already approved. Therefore, if 2001 census is problematic, there is no reason why 2011 census cannot be the basis of delimitation. Secondly, to say that it will disturb the tribal equity is to beg for continuation of unfair and discriminatory system. One should understand that tribal equity will be achieved only when a fair and balanced system is established, which will not only bring social harmony but also ushered in a just society.

Prof. Zarenthung Ezung & Dr. Phyoben Odyuo
Mokokchung, Nagaland

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By EMN Updated: Jun 18, 2020 11:59:00 pm
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