Year-ender 2023: History scripted as Nagaland gets two women lawmakers
KOHIMA — The year 2023 has been an eventful year for Nagaland marked by twists and turns as well as welcome developments encompassing the political, social, health and other spheres.
The year commenced with the much anticipated election to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, despite the initial decision of the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) to abstain from any political processes including the state assembly election.
Nagaland went to polls on February 27 and the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) led by the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged victorious to form the government for the second consecutive term.
Incumbent Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio took oath as the chief minister for a record fifth term. Numerous central leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the state during the poll campaign period.
Maiden entry of two women to NLA
Two women, Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu, scripted history in the state by becoming the first women to be elected to the NLA since Nagaland attained statehood in 1963. Both from the NDPP, Kruse is the first woman cabinet minister while Jakhalu is the first woman advisor in Nagaland.
ULB, UCC and other issues
Despite the State Election Commission’s notification dated March 9 to conduct elections to three municipal and 36 town councils on May 16 with seat reservation for women, elections to the urban local bodies (ULBs) were cancelled once again due to stiff opposition from civil society organisations (CSOs). The CSOs argued that the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001 was in contravention to Article 371A. Heeding to the demand of the people, the Nagaland Legislative Assembly repealed the controversial act in toto in March. Subsequently, the SEC cancelled the elections. However, the Supreme Court stayed the cancellation of ULB election in Nagaland. A new act, Nagaland Municipal Act, 2023 was later enacted and the state is now looking forward to conducting the election with women reservation soon. It may be noted that the NLA also passed a resolution for exemption of Uniform Civil Code in Nagaland as well as another resolution on the Forest Conservation Amendment Act.
Nagaland gets first medical college
The much-awaited first medical college in the state – Nagaland Institute of Medical Sciences and Research at Phreibagei – saw the light of day this year after it received the green signal from the National Medical Commission to start the first year MBBS course with an intake of 100 students. Accordingly, admissions were conducted and classes for first-year MBBS students started on September 1.
Manipur violence and evacuation
Following the violence that broke out in Manipur in early May this year, Nagaland state was put on alert as students and people from the state staying in Manipur were affected. The State Home department activated helplines for the safety and security of the people from Nagaland staying in Manipur. Evacuation of students and persons from started from May 6 onwards. Over 1000 persons from Nagaland and beyond were evacuated safely from the conflict-torn Manipur. Later on, the people of Nagaland at various levels organised numerous solidarity events and appealed for peace to prevail in Manipur.
Nagaland intensifies war on drugs
The unfortunate incident where a student leader from Mon was reportedly hacked to death by a drug peddler in Tizit on May 25, alarmed the state to initiate war on drugs. While Mon district intensified war against drugs following the incident, Nagaland state also took a drug-free pledge on the 77th Independence Day. Nagaland Police in the second week of this month updated that a total 456 persons were arrested and 318 NDPS-related cases registered since January 1 this year. It further informed that a total of 49 police personnel were implicated with eight already dismissed, while three government servants from other departments were also arrested in drug-related cases.
Major fire incidents in Dimapur, Kohima
The state witnessed major fire incidents this year, which claimed lives and damaged property worth crores of rupees. In what could be termed as one of the most disastrous fire incidents in recent years in the state, at least six persons were charred to death in two separate fire incidents in Dimapur this year: Five people, reportedly from the same family, were charred to death in devastating fire at Naharbari, while one person died in a fire that broke out at Burma Camp in April. Hundreds were also rendered homeless in about five fire incidents in Dimapur. Major fire incidents were also reported in the state capital Kohima this year including razing down of key marketplaces — Mao Market, NN Market, High School Junction Market. Other fire incidents were also reported in Jail Colony and N Kire Market.
Surge in dengue, conjunctivitis cases
In a span of five months – June to October – Nagaland reported 2899 dengue cases and one death according to data provided by the state Health and Family Welfare department. This year also witnessed an unusual surge in cases of conjunctivitis (eye flu), especially among the school-going children in Dimapur and Chümoukedima. The situation compelled the district administration to suspend physical classes for a week in August.
Awards and accolades
The Padma Shri Award was conferred to weaver Neihunuo Sorhie and artiste Moa Subong from Nagaland for their contributions in the field of Arts. In the field of entertainment, model and actor Andrea Kevichusa from Nagaland won Filmfare Award for best debut female for her role in “Anek.”The Nagaland Chamber Choir brought laurels to the country and to the state by winning two gold medals at the World Choir Games in South Korea held in July. For the first time, Nagaland state hosted the G20 Business summit in Kohima on April 5. A total of four persons from Nagaland cracked the prestigious UPSC Examination 2022. The successful candidates included Yimkum I Ozukum, Vevotolu Kezo, Imkongnukla Ao and W Aotula Ozukum.
The ten-day Hornbill Festival 2023 witnessed the return of the seven eastern Nagaland tribes after a gap of one year.
As the year draws to a close, the rise of new Covid-19 cases in the country has put the states on high alert even as Nagaland steps into the New Year.