With pressure mounting on him to resign following the recent developments centering around the urban local bodies’ elections in the state, Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang has called a consultative meeting of all tribal bodies here on Wednesday to find out ways to resolve the current impasse.
Zeliang’s earlier efforts – like declaring the urban local bodies’ election as “null and void” and asking the prime minister to immediately pass an Ordinance and later amend Part IX-A of the Constitution to exempt Nagaland while holding municipal elections – have failed to convince the agitating groups and traditional tribal bodies. The tribal bodies feel holding election to urban local bodies with 33 per cent reservation for women would infringe upon Naga tradition and custom.
The chief minister has invited respective Hohos of all tribes including the apex Naga Hoho, Eastern Naga People’s Organisation (ENPO), Angami People’s Organisation (APO), Ao Senden, Chakhesang Public Organisation (CPO) and Nagaland Gaonburra Association to the consultative meet to be held here on Wednesday.
While two newly constituted forums – Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) and Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) – have intensified the demand for Zeliang to resign, Naga Hoho, the apex traditional tribal body of the state too joined the chorus, asking the chief minister and his entire cabinet to “gracefully resign.” The government had lost its moral right to remain in office, the Naga Hoho said here on Monday.
“The present government does not listen to the voice of the people, can treacherously betray its own commitments made in the presence of our highest sacred institution, and even goes to the extent of taking the lives of the son of the soil,” a strongly-worded statement issued by the Naga Hoho said. It also accused the Zeliang government of being blind and deaf to the cries of the people.
Holding Zeliang’s government responsible for the recent incidents of violence arising out of the demand for not holding municipal elections with 33 per cent reservation for women under Article 243(T) of the Constitution, the Hoho said it would remain steadfast with the Naga people “despite being fully aware of its shortcomings and failures on many fronts”.
Naga Hoho incidentally was the first to have opposed the Constitutional amendment providing 33 per cent reservation for women in Nagaland by saying that it was contradictory in case of Nagaland because Article 371(A) provides for protecting Naga customs and traditions. Since Article 371(A) also empowers the state assembly to decide whether any Act of Parliament would be applied or not in Nagaland, the government must take the responsibility for taking such a decision that would lead to infringement of Naga rights, it said.
Article 371(A) of the Indian Constitution (Special provision with respect to the State of Nagaland) states that – “Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, (a) no Act of Parliament in respect of (i) religious or social practices of the Nagas, (ii) Naga customary law and procedure, (iii) administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law, (iv) ownership and transfer of land and its resources, shall apply to the State of Nagaland unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides.”
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