Naga unrest – Violence in Tribal State


Civic body polls and Nagaland Violence


Nagaland violence: Background

  • Nagaland is a state of North East India mainly inhabited by Tribal population and it is borders with neigbouring country Myanmar.
  • Article 243(T) of Indian constitution says for the reservation of not less than 1/3 of the seats to women in civic body elections.
  • But as per Article 371(A) of Indian constitution, there is a special provision for Nagaland for the safeguarding of religious and social practices of Nagas.

Nagaland Violence

ULB Elections and Nagaland violence

  • ULB elections have been due in the state for over 16 years. In 2012, these bodies had pushed the state Assembly to pass a resolution not to hold the ULB polls even though an amendment to the Municipality Act 2001 was passed in 2006 providing for quotas to them.
  • Naga Mothers’ Association had moved the Supreme Court in 2012 for implementation of 33 per cent representation for women in the urban local bodies.
  • The SC ruled in the favour of the mothers in 2016, following which the state cabinet gave a go-ahead to conduct the polls.
  • The Nagaland state government announced Urban Local bodies elections in December 2016, scheduling the elections on February 1, 2017.
  • Tribal organisations demanded for the postponement of elections until the Municipal Act is reviewed.
  • Joint Co-Ordination Committee of the tribal bodies called for the indefinite shut down by not allowing the voters to exercise their franchise.
  • On January 27, state government signed an agreement with the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC), comprising tribal bodies opposed to giving 33% reservation to women candidates, to postpone the polls by two months.
  • But the Gauhati High Court directed the state government to hold the civic body elections as per the schedule.
  • The Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF) government headed by TR Zeliang acting on the HC directive decided to conduct polls in 12 of the 32 municipal bodies in the state.
  • Two persons were killed while several others suffered injured in clashes between the police and a mob as groups of people rampaged government properties on January 31, 2017.
  • Government tightened the security and imposed curfew inorder to conduct the polls as per schedule. But in most of the places there were no single nomination has been filed due to the tribal groups opposition.
  • The protest continued and mob set fire on the public buildings and other properties in Kohima and other districts.

Nagaland violence: Present status

  • CM declared the election process null and void and Troopers of Assam Rifles have been deployed in Kohima to assist police to tackle the situation.
  • The state government has shut down Internet and mobile data service to stop the spread of rumours through social networking sites.

Nagaland violence: Status of Women in Nagaland

  • The incidents of female foeticide or dowry are rare in Nagaland suggests that women occupy a higher social status than in rest of India. Some would even argue that the levels of violence against women are far lower in Nagaland as compared to the rest of the country.
  • Nagaland has never elected a women legislator to the assembly since it gained statehood in 1963. The lone woman MP from the state was late Rano M Shaiza, who got elected in 1977.