Gender Justice in Nagaland – a statement

Indian Feminists in solidarity with #Nagaland women

We, the undersigned women’s organisations and concerned individuals take serious note of the fierce opposition to women’s reservation of 33% seats in Nagaland Municipal Councils by male dominated tribal bodies in Nagaland in the name of protecting their tradition and customary practices that bar women from participating in decision- making bodies. We strongly condemn this anti-woman position of Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) that has been formed supposedly to “protect” Naga tribal practices. While NTAC quotes Article 371(A) of the Constitution to assert that they are empowered to make their own laws, they choose to ignore Constitutional principle of equality before law, thus denying the Naga women their electoral rights.

NTAC has used threats and violence to prevent women from filing their nominations, or even to withdraw their papers.

Time and again women’s movements in India have confronted issues of community identity vs the rights of women. In almost every instance, communities and their leaders have chosen to sacrifice the rights of women to safeguard patriarchal practices in the name of tradition and custom. In the present imbroglio, NTAC has used threats and violence to prevent women from filing their nominations, or even to withdraw their papers.

What is not being asserted is that Urban Local Bodies are not traditional Naga institutions recognised by Article 371(A) of the Constitution but rather, Constitutional bodies under Part IX of the Constitution over which the traditional Naga bodies have no mandate

Through all this, the State government has remained silent spectator and tried to wash its hands off on the issue of women’s representation in local bodies by cancelling the elections to local bodies under pressure from these tribal bodies by merely citing law and order concerns. In the process, the State has become complicit in protecting patriarchal traditions to the detriment of principles of gender equality. What is not being asserted is that Urban Local Bodies are not traditional Naga institutions recognised by Article 371(A) of the Constitution but rather, Constitutional bodies under Part IX of the Constitution over which the traditional Naga bodies have no mandate. We strongly condemn the unconstitutional demand of the NTAC and the succumbing of the state government to the pressures of this body. We stand strongly with the struggle of Naga Mothers Association and others who have consistently been fighting for peace, justice and the rights of Naga women for political representation in local bodies since 2006 when the Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act was enacted granting 33% reservations to Naga women in local bodies. We demand:

• Immediate resumption of the electoral process for Nagaland Municipal Councils.

• The state government must stop colluding with powers that promote anti-women practices of communities.

• The state government must implement the 33% political representation of women in local bodies with immediate effect.

• The state government must uphold the rights of women, in this and other areas of law and governance.

ORGANISATIONS

1. Saheli Women’s Resource Centre
2. LABIA – A Queer Feminist LBT Collective
3. Forum Against Oppression of Women
4. Zubaan 5. Stree Mukti Sangathan
6. Anhad – Act Now for Harmony & Democracy
7. NAPM – National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements 8. Sappho for Equality
9. Pennurimai Iyakkam
10. Pann NuFoundation
11. Olakh
12. Akshara
13. North East Network
14. Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti
15. Nirantar
16. Kosi Navnirman Manch
17. Joint Women’s Program
18. Bebaak Collective
19. Matu Kan Sangathan
20. SangatinSamooh
21. CASAM
22. SANGRAM
23. Feminism in India
24. Partners in Law Development
25. WomenPowerConnect
26. Gender,Livelihoods and Resources Forum
27. FoodSovereigntyAlliance
28. IRDSO Manipur 

INDIVIDUALS

1. Aarthi Pai
2. Abha Bhaiya
3. Ammu Abraham
4. Anomita Sen
5. Anita Ghai
6. Anjali Sinha
7. Anupama Potluri
8. Anuradha Banerji
9. Anuradha Kapoor
10. Anuvinda Varkey
11. Alana Golmei
12. Arun Bhurte
13. Ashima Roy Chowdhury
14. Ashley Tellis
15. Bishakha Datta
16. Chayanika Shah
17. Deepa Venkatachalam
18. Deepti Sharma
19. Devaki Jain
20. Dhruva Narayan
21. Dunu Roy
22. Gabriel Dietrich
23. Gargee Baruah
24. Gayatri Sharma
25. Geeta Seshu
26. Geetha Nambisan
27. Govind Kelkar
28. Hasina Khan
29. Imrana Qadeer
30. Janaki Abraham
31. Japleen Pasricha
32. Jashodhara Dasupta
33. Jhuma Sen
34. Kalpana Mehta
35. Kalyani Menon Sen
36. Kamayani Bali Mahabal
37. Kamini Tankha
38. Kamla Bhasin
39. Kavita Krishnan
40. Kavita Srivastav
41. Khyochano Ovung
42. Kiran Shaheen
43. Krishnakant
44. Lata Singh
45. Laxmi Murthy
46. Madhu Mehra
47. Madhu Bhushan
48. Mahendra Yadav
49. Manasi Pingle
50. Mary Beth Sanate
51. Mary John
52. Medha Patkar
53. Meena Seshu
54. Meera Sanghamitra
55. Mihira Sood
56. Mini Mathew
57. Mira Shiva
58. Mohan Rao 
59. Monisha Behal
60. Mukul Mangalik
61. S Maya
62. Nalini Vishwanathan
63. Nalini Nayak
64. Nandini Sundar
65. Nandita Shah
66. Nasreen Habib
67. Neeta Hardikar
68. Neera Javed Malik
69. Nimisha Desai
70. Nisha Biswas
71. Nonibala Narengbham
72. Padma Deosthali
73. Padmini Kumar
74. Pamela Philipose
75. Panchali Ray
76. Parul Sethi
77. Patricia Mukhim
78. Pramada Menon
79. Pooja Bhatia
80. Pushpa Achanta
81. Radhika Desai
82. Ratna Appender
83. Renu Singh
84. Richa Singh
85. Rina Mukherji
86. Ritu Dewan
87. Rohini Hensman
88. Roshmi Goswami
89. Runu Chakraborty
90. Sadhna Arya
91. Sagari Ramdas
92. Sana Contractor
93. Sarojini N
94. Saswati Ghosh
95. Satnam Kaur
96. Savita Sharma
97. Seema Baquer
98. Sejal Dand
99. Shabnam Hashmi
100. Sharanya Nayak
101. Shewli Kumar
102. Shoma Sen
103. Sonali Udaybabu
104. Sophia Khan
105. SomaKP
106. Subhash Gatade 
107. Subashri Krishnan
108. Sujatha Gothoskar
109. Sumi Krishna 110. Suneetha Dhar
111. Surajit Sarkar 112. Svati Joshi 113. Svati Shah 114. Swarnlatha 115. Teena Gill 116. Ujwala Kadrekar
117. Uma Chandru
118. Urvashi Butalia
119. Urvashi Sarkar
120. Vahida Nainar
121. Vandana Prasad
122. Vani Subramanian
123. Vibhuti Patel
124. Vimal Bhai
125. Vipin Krishna
126. Virginia Saldanha

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