Kohima, Sept. 30: A gender battle is brewing in Nagaland with some male-dominated Naga organisations deciding to ban the proposed rally tomorrow by women.
Naga women under the aegis of Joint Action Committee on Women Reservation had decided to organise a rally tomorrow in protest against the state Assembly’s resolution not to implement 33 per cent reservation for women in municipal and town councils, under Article 9-A of the Constitution.
But organisations like Ao Senden, the apex Naga organisation in Mokokchung district, have warned women not to come out on the streets and directed all units to stop women from organising pro-tests. The Naga women have decided to take their protest to the Supreme Court to redress their grievances.
The Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation has banned the rally in the four districts of Kiphire, Mon, Longleng and Tuensang, where it has considerable influence. It has directed its members residing outside these four districts to abstain from the rally and warned that anyone participating would be doing at their own responsibility.
ENPO President P. Pongom Khiamniungun said it was not a question of either curtailing the rights of Naga women nor the murder of democracy as women had to stay within certain limits according to customary and traditional practices.He said even in Article 371-A it has been clearly mentioned that the Constitution would not infringe on the customary and traditional practices of Nagas.
Pongom said even the Assembly had passed the resolution not to implement Article 9-A of the Constitution in the state.
President of Naga Mothers’ Association, Abeiu Meru, slammed the decision to ban the protest rally and termed it as “murder of democracy”. She said in democratic country like India, everyone had the Right to Expression and Speech.
Meru said they would go ahead with the protest at Kohima tomorrow and she expected a large turnout.
The contention of organisations like Ao Senden and ENPO was that Article 9-A directly infringes on Article 371-A of the Constitution, which protects customary practices of Naga people without the consent of the Assembly.
But Naga women said the Assembly decision was a clear subversion of the constitutional provision by misinterpreting Article 371-A.
Naga Hoho, the apex Naga organisation, took the middle path on the issue stating that in a democratic system all had their right to protest or carry out a rally.
But Ao Women Hoho based at Mokokchung, strongly criticised the stand of the organisations. President of the Women Hoho, Imtirenla Ao, said the decision to ban the rally was “most unfortunate and backward decision”.
She reiterated full support to the mothers’ association to take out the rally.
Ao said Naga women have been suppressed and exploited for long and men even don’t want to grant women rights enshrined in the Constitution.