Kohima Village Council (KVC) today has warned the Nagaland Government with dire consequences should it go ahead with its plan of reserving 33% seats for women in urban local bodies. The council also claimed that there is no discrimination between menfolk and womenfolk. They further claim that Naga women in general were never underpriviledged in any form in the society.
The announcement from the council comes in response to CM TR Zeliang’s decision to implement the 33% women reservation. Earlier the Nagaland CM announced the cabinet decision to go ahead with ULB elections under Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001 by granting 33 per cent women reservation.
KVC Chairman Medoselhou Keretsü, and press secretary Thejao Sekhose issued a statement wherein they accused the State cabinet of passing the Women’s Reservation Bill without consulting the Naga society groups. They also demanded that elections for urban local bodies should be held as early as possible without any kind of reservation for women, as lack of municipal committees and town committees have caused great losses. Not only that, the village council claims that reservation for women is “contrary to Naga Culture” and “alien” to them. Article 371A(1) of the Constitution preserves the social and religious practices and customary laws of the Nagas.
Countering the council’s stance is Rosemary Dzuvichu, a Naga feminist leader and adviser of the Naga Mothers Association, a civil society organisation. She views this move by the village council as patriarchal. She dismisses any talk of the election related to Naga culture. Rather, the order, it is directly related to the implementation 74th Amendment of the Constitution that hands over the powers, to develop their own towns and cities.
She further says, “Some of the members of the village council, who are male, are also ex-councillors of the local civic body. If the reservation law is implemented, then some of them will lose seats previously held by them to women candidates.”
Temsula Aao, a Sahitya Academy award winner and writer based in Nagaland, believes that the reservation law should be implemented as early as possible to bridge this divide.