They say its against their culture to give power to women. So male-dominated tribal groups led by Nagaland Tribes Action Committee are protesting the 33% reservation for women in the civic polls. They fear that political power will give women the authority to interfere in the distribution of resources.
It would also give women the power to raise their voice, which they say is against Naga culture.
Moreover, they assert that their protest is democratic as per Article 371 which provides special status to the state.
The state of Nagaland was created in 1963 under Article371 giving special provisions to the state after a series of political disturbances.
These include creation of Naga federal government and Naga federal army to fight against India in 1947 leading to start of insurgency to extension of AFSPA in 1958 as they had always been protective of their culture and traditions.
The insurgency and the political instability has always hampered the development work of the state. As a result, Dimapur is the only railway station in the state. Meanwhile, though the female literacy rate is nearly 76% in the state and women excel in the public and private spheres – academically, intellectually and to a certain extent economically, but the Naga ” culture” and customary laws debar women from land ownership, heading village councils, and inheritance rights.
Elections to the state’s local bodies, which had been scheduled for February 1, have been put on hold following the protests and it is likely that women’s election to ULBs will never come to pass.
The Naga Mothers’ Association told Reuters that women who contest elections in Nagaland are routinely threatened with violence and ex-communication, and often forced to withdraw.
It is clear from what has happened over the last few days that Naga women will continue to struggle for their rights in Nagaland, however unambiguously enshrined in the Constitution of India.
Image for representational purposes only.