Kohima: Following an open state-level discussion on municipal elections by women leaders organized by the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA) in collaboration with the Department of English, Nagaland University on Wednesday, the women objected to the repeal of the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001.
An update from NMA said that during the discussion, a 3-point resolution was passed at the end of the day-long deliberation.
“Naga Women are in support of the Municipal Act 2001 and the First Amendment, providing for 33% reservation in urban local bodies,” it resolved.
They also objected to the decision to repeal the act, taking exception to the fact that the move was done without any civil dialogue or consultation with women.
“Naga Women take cognizance of the fact that the two women MLAs remained silent during deliberations on this issue in the Assembly session as well as abstaining from objecting or dissenting to the passing of this repeal bill,” the third point of the resolution said.
Delivering the keynote address, Professor Rosemary Dzüvichü who is the former Director of the Women Studies Centre, gave a detailed account of the struggles of Naga women relating to the implementation of the Nagaland Municipal Act which provides for 33% reservation for women in urban local bodies.
Speaking on the topic of Feminism in the Naga Context, assistant professor Dr Theyiesinuo Keditsu argued for the need to identify struggles peculiar to the condition of indigenous Naga women. She contested the idea that feminist consciousness or praxis is a modern invention or western ideology citing various instances of feminist resistance and subversion in Naga traditional culture.
Recognising that it is easier to change oneself than another, Keditsu discussed the malady of internalised patriarchy and urged all women present to confront this intimate enemy. She stressed the need for peaceful, non-violent strategies to challenge inequalities inherent in patriarchy.
Former legal advisor of NMA, Zheviholi Swu unpacked the legalities of the Municipal Act 2001, tracing the various legal actions and recourse taken by petitioners, the Government of Nagaland and the Court to date.
Given that the Act is constitutional legislation, Swu explained that its implementation was inevitable and that the latest bid by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly to repeal this bill was being done when the matter was sub-judice.
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During the open discussion, party representatives from NDPP, BJP and NPF as well as representatives from Naga Women Hoho Dimapur, Zeliangrong Mepui Organisation and Pochury Mothers Association, among other women leaders shared their views.
The day-long programme brought women from across various professions, tribes and other women’s organisations, NGOs, academics, journalists, political party women leaders, and PhD research scholars from the University and abroad.
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