Naga women must be empowered : ZSUD
New Delhi, 22nd February 2017
Having closely observed the political crisis over women reservation in Urban Local Bodies (ULB) in the last few weeks the Zeliangrong Students' Union Delhi (ZSUD) is compelled to issue this press statement. First, in the protests against women reservation many issues got entangled and the image of Naga society irreparably sullied. Gender issue was overshadowed by customary laws and right to self-determination dictated by power politics.
Whereas we Nagas claim to be an egalitarian society without any socio-religious stratification, to the world outside Naga society has emerged as a highly intolerant patriarchal community with no qualms about suppressing the rights of women in order to defend our customary laws and right to self-determination .
Now that the ULB election process has been declared null and void and chief minister T.R. Zeliang resigned, gender issue must be addressed at the earliest. ZSUD is of the strong opinion that Naga women must be empowered with adequate representations in ULB/all public offices in consonance with local customary laws and practices. To build a progressive and inclusive society every man must respect Naga women's political rights. Naga women should be given opportunities which have been denied for many generations.
Second, we note with deep concern the attempt during the protests to polarize and stratify Naga society on the parameters of ‘major tribes’ and ‘minor tribes'. Such politics defeats Naga unity, progress and the attempt to come out of the problem of ‘tribalism’. It is sad to learn that JCC and NTAC the main protestors questioned the integrity of Zeliangrong by publicly stating that they ‘know the existence of Zeliang but not Zeliangrong.'
For the record, Zeliangrong people are represented in the Naga Hoho, Naga Students’ Federation and Naga Mothers Association and the Naga Political Groups under the banner of Zeliangrong transcending the political and territorial boundaries of colonial and post-colonial order.The benefit Nagaland is entitled to at the moment is the result of collective efforts of all Nagas including Zeliangong people. Therefore, Zeliangrong people as a part of the political struggle are also stakeholders in the progress and development of the state.
ZSUD hereby expresses extreme anguish and pain over the attack on innocent zeliangrong people living in Dimapur and targeting Chief Minister’s private residence and the mass violence that erupted in the name of safeguarding Naga customary laws (but ultimately). This recent conspiracy against TR Zeliang and Zeliangrong community has hurt the sentiment of the tribe living in three different States of Manipur, Nagaland and Assam. The issue in Nagaland State should have been against the Government’s decision to carry on with the ULB election. However, the unfolding of events are directed intentionally towards one minority tribe and the leader which is extremely sad and intolerable.
Third, we note with deep concern that one of the most learned and respectable Naga civil societies in Delhi chose sides to also join the political games with questionable press statements undermining the integrity of their esteemed offices. We are of the opinion that they could have been more objective and impartial on the women reservation issue and the protests than coming out openly as a party to the political conflict. ZSUD is appalled at the highly political stand of the NPMHR asking the then chief minister TR Zeliang to step down during the protests. NPMHR the champion of Naga human rights engaging in partisan politics is uncalled for. ZSUD shares the grief of the two Naga families who lost their sons in the violent protests.
ZSUD is of the opinion that for too long a time power politics in Nagaland has affected the larger Naga interests from gender to Naga national issue. We feel it is time such practices are checked in the larger interest of the Naga society, the ‘minor tribe’ and the excluded segments of the society. Otherwise a community who has time and again rescinded its interests for the larger cause would soon feel being pushed to the wall. It is our sincere prayer that such incident does not happen and that the government and civil society exhibit maturity inspirits and actions.
ZSUD takes pride in the benevolence of the then chief minister TR Zeliang for his supreme sacrifice to step down by shouldering responsibilities and blames which are not his own, but for the betterment and peace to prevail in the Naga society he had to be crucified to save the image of Nagaland state in particular and Naga nation in general.
Zeliangrong Students’ Union Delhi (ZSUD)
* This Press Release was sent to e-pao.net by Zeliangrong Students’ Union Delhi (ZSUD) who can be contacted at rimaimathiuchunbou(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This Press Release was posted on February 22 2017
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