Conspiracy to dethrone chief minister TR Zeliang has paralysed life in Nagaland as different tribal organisations have been firm on sabotaging the local bodies poll
Nagaland was put to flames by political rivals on the excuse of 33% reservation for women in the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). Three persons have been killed so far and several others injured in clashes between the protesters and the security forces.
A mob instigated allegedly by Neiphiu Rio and his supporters had been vandalizing since January 31 night in Dimapur, Kohima and Longleng even as polling to some Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Nagaland has been underway.
In view of the prevailing situation, all mobile data services have been blocked in the state since midnight Feb 1 midnight, while the tribal bodies opposed to holding elections called for bandh in whole of Nagaland.
The unruly violent mob gheraoed the private residence of Chief Minister T.R Zeliang while the police tried stopping them. In the police firing two persons were killed and several injured. Another person died later in Dimapur Hospital taking the toll to three. The chief minister said he would resign only when he fails to prove his majority in the Assembly.
In Longleng, seven people suffered bullet injuries in police firing in order to prevent violent mob from entering the Office of the Deputy Commissioner.
The mob damaged polling materials for all the 12 polling stations even though there was curfew under 144 CrPC. The police had to fire in the air in Dimapur.
Meanwhile, different tribal
organisations have been observing protests in some districts to boycott the elections by not allowing the voters to exercise their franchise.
Thousands of protesters in Kohima set ablaze the secretariat building, office of Municipal Council,
office of the Deputy Commissioner, Regional Transport Office and Excise Department.
The govt. had to suspend the polling.. Now, as per the desire of Neiphiu Rio and his bandwagon, the protesters are demanding no less than resignation of chief minister TR Zeliang and imposition of the President Rule.
The Centre has sent 5000 security personnel.Prime minister Narendra Modi has termed deployment of the central security force, Assam Rifles known as “Friend of Hill People” as one of the most unprecedented moves in the country to ensure the safety of Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang and his residence ,who has been Chief minister since 2014 after the resignation of Neiphiu Rio and has been facing several attempts by Neiphiu Rio for bringing his downfall.
The underground opposition to TRZ govt by Neiphiu Rio and his colleagues has been increasing day by day with more intensity and this political crisis is first of its kind which TRZ is facing today.
The Nagaland’s man -made crisis is a call to review article 371A of the Constitution and the selective use of customary laws and their supposed infallibility. This is not just in Nagaland but covers most of the North-East.
In neighbouring Manipur, the 100 days long (Nov. 1.2016 to Feb 8.2017) ongoing blockade along two major highways, NH2 & NH37, by United Naga Council ( UNC allegedly over ground wing of underground NSCN-IM) rests on a similar clash of vision between art 371A plus selective use of customary laws and modern laws. The question is, can there be a reconciliation of the two visions?
The violence in Nagaland has its roots in the Constitution’s 74th Amendment in 1993 providing 33% reservation for women of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) nationwide. This was not immediately adopted in Nagaland. In 2006, the Nagaland Assembly passed Nagaland Municipal (1st amendment) Act 2016 providing 33% reservation for women. The law, however, faced objection.
After this objection, polls to municipal bodies were not held. In 2009 a powerful women organisation, Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) took up the issue and formed Joint Action Committee for Women Reservation (JACWR) which filed a writ petition before Kohima Bench of the Guwahati High Court in 2011 challenging the state govt’s refusal to hold municipal elections. The ruling of the court went in its favour and the court directed Nagaland Govt. to hold Municipal Elections before January 2012 with 33% seats reserved for women but the state govt secured a stay on the ground that the order violated art 371A.
It is rather surprising and ironic that Nagas, known for their liberal approach to gender equality and
status, should have an abnormal and extreme structural gender oppression embedded within its customary laws which have today become obsolete due to the Church influence. However, the close Naga observers feel that the present social commotion is the fall out of sinister political instigation by those pitted against the TRZ
Considering the latter’s bitter rival, former Chief Minister and now M.P Lok Sabha Neiphiu Rio has come out strongly against the TRZ and those advocating women reservation and apprehension is that more troubles are in offing in days to come.
Present Situation: The apex tribal bodies along with Joint Coordination Committee (JCC), Naga Hoho and Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) joined by 155 members from 14 tribes , have directed the Chief Minister to step down on moral ground within a period of 3 days. They have also resolved not to attend any consultative meeting called by the TRZ government. n