The Big Picture – Developments in Nagaland

  • March 20, 2017
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The Big Picture- RSTV
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Developments in Nagaland



General Studies 1

  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism
  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India

General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Nagaland is in turmoil since the state government decided to hold ULB elections with one-third reservation for women in 12 towns.

In new developments, Nagaland CM T. R. Zeliang will step down and replaced by Shurhozelie Liezietsu amidst the law and order crisis.

Best Solution?

Though it is not the best solution, it is to be taken to bring stability to the state. The situation is volatile and it is not known how the change in leadership will help, especially under external pressure. The insurgent groups in north east have been long acting as pressure points in the democracy. If the state continues to bow down to their demands, in this case- insurgents threatened to break ceasefire if Zeliang didn’t step down, the cycle will continue and will see negative developments for democracy.

It is very strange as insurgents don’t believe in democracy but they try to topple the government and then side with various political parties. Their non-belief in democracy and yet trying to influence the government sends out dangerous signals for future.

Why new CM choice is not appealing?

No doubt, Zeliang’s time to go had come. He was Chairman of Select Committee of Nagaland Assembly which passed a unanimous resolution stating that Nagaland should be exempted from Part IX-A of constitution (in 2012). The matter was put to vote in assembly and it unanimously passed that not whole of Part IX-A but only the women reservation part should be exempted.

But after Zeliang became CM, he reversed this decision without any discussion and allowed for women’s reservation in ULB elections. Similarly, the new CM Liezietsu was also part of assembly and said no to reservation. But when he became Chairman of ruling party, he took opposite stand like Zeliang and said yes to reservation.

Another reason was that Zeliang visited centre too often for small matters, which is case with all north east states do as they are totally dependent on centre for funds. Going to centre all the times brought forward a picture in front of people that the CM was not capable of taking decisions at his level. Nagaland has its own government and all resources belong to people. Thus, the leader and the people have to make plans to make the state prosperous.

But instead, the money received from centre goes to few influential people in the state and devoids people of their rightful resources and its uses. Thus, economic independence is equally important for a state to develop.

Chance of President Rule?

Such a chance does not arise as there was no grim situation demanding the same. President’s rule means centre is trying to run the state and this would infuriate the people more. Here there is a need of efficient leadership which will understand people’s problem.

Why no to women reservation?

The HC agreed with the view that instead of imposing reservation rule on state, the matter should be discussed in assembly at a length. The state legislative assembly came to a unanimous conclusion that women reservation to ULBs cannot be granted as it is against the customary practice. The Nagas are not saying that women are inferior to them in any sphere. A large section of Nagas believe that if reservation is given, they will be shown in poorer light.

Another reason is treating women differently in different places.

There are around 1600 village councils whereas 16 town councils and municipalities. In these village councils, there is no reservation for women candidate according to constitution of India.

Art 243 (M) says that Part IX is not applicable to Nagaland which means no reservations for women in Panchayat given under art 243D.

Art 243 (T) gives reservation to women in ULB elections.

This will divide Nagaland into large majority of women living in tribal belts to no reservation and few women in towns will have reservation. The application of reservation violates article 14 of constitution of India which provides right to equality.


Evolving the society collectively

A larger picture from looking outside the reservation shows that the fight is also about land and resources. More than elections in ULBs, the tribals feel that women will soon ask share in land and resources which have been under their control for years. Not much can be said though about how much truth lies in this fact about nagas against women reservation.

Nagaland has never been ruled by Mughals or Hindu rulers. Even British had limited soldiery in Nagaland. When India got independence, it also sought independence. But India convinced Nagaland that it will be given a special status in constitution and allowed to manage its own resources and protect its customs, practices and laws. Thus, after making such commitments, to try to change their tradition without involving them is not a right way forward and means of letting down people. There is a need of person who understands real problems faced by Nagas in the right perspective without any use of force and neither comparing it with other states. The changes should come from within and society should look forward to develop their women to develop themselves.

Connecting the dots:

  • The North East states require economic freedom along with political freedom to truly explore their development options. Comment.

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Understanding Nagaland Crisis

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