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Ao women oppose Jan 29 resolutions
Dimapur, Feb 7 (NPN):
Published on 8 Feb. 2009 12:26 AM IST
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The Ao Naga Women Association (Watsu Mungdang) has raised objection against the resolution adopted in the January 29 meeting, called by Nagaland Legislative Secretariat in Kohima on 108th Constitution Amendment Bill on Women Reservation Bill 2008, terming it as highly objectionable because the deliberation was not biased but undemocratic, anti-constitutional and anti-human rights. Regretting that Nagaland Women Commission, the apex body of Ao Naga Women Organisation in the state level, has not been invited to the meeting, the apex body of the Ao women pointed out that all male members spoke against 33% reservation for women in the meeting while terming the resolution as “arbitrary and predisposed decision taken against women.” The association in a release issued by its president Wt. Supongla Lemdor and general secretary Wt. Imtila Longkumer appealed to all right thinking people and authorities to re-examine the issue of 33% reservation for women who constitute 50% of the population as a whole and Nagaland in particular as per constitutional provision. The release said it was a meeting of All Political Party Consultative Committee where some leading NGOs and civil societies were also invited, but there was no woman member in the APPCC to deliberate on the interest of women It said as per the notification dated 9th January 2009, only 30 organisations were invited but after the voting took place 35 votes were announced in the meeting hall, out of which 18 voted against the reservation, 12 in favour, 4 partially agreed and one did not comment. Questioning where from those extra organizations surfaced, the association sought to know as to why the organizers did not send the cabinet memorandum on the Women Reservation Bill that was passed on July 7, 2008 to all the invitees as the meeting was to deliberate on the matter. Stating that only a questionnaire with three questions to answer and bring them to the meeting was given, it said no detailed information contained in the Cabinet Memorandum was made known to it in advance, leaving no room to study on such issue of national importance. The women body made it clear that it cannot accept this anti-women decision and policy and vowed to continue to fight for their legitimate rights democratically till the constitutional provisions are met. Pointing out that the intelligence, capability and ability of the Naga women are second to none, the association said “if we don’t not allow the platform to develop the skills and abilities of the women in participating in policy matters then it is our society which will be the loser because Nagaland is but a dot in the world map and it is hoped that there will be Naga women leaders in the national and international arena.” Sating our tradition and customs did not allow women participation in policy matters and decision making and that we are still carrying that mindset to the 21st century, the association maintained that women can and should participate in decision making even if some women are unable to accept it Even though it is our most quoted opinion that women in Nagaland have a better position, Nagland is yet to produce an elected leader in the Legislative Assembly or Town Council, it stated. “This reflects the true identity of Nagaland. And this is why we need mechanism like the reservation under discussion,” it said. Making it clear that the question of reducing 33% reservation does not arise, the association said it will however respect the decision of the majority voice. It further said though it demanded implementation of the reservation yet felt that it should be a temporary measure till such time our women are fully confident. Meanwhile, expert member of National Commission for Women Rosemary Dzvichu demanded that the resolution adopted against reservation for women on January 29 must be kept in abeyance. In a letter to Governor K Sankranarayanan, the women commission member also demanded that the state government must wait for the general consensus to be given by the Naga women. “A larger debate must be allowed within the women of Nagaland themselves, represented by all women organisations, including the State Commission for Women, which has been empowered by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, through the Nagaland Women Commission Act, to be consulted for any policy decisions affecting women in the state,” the letter said. She also regretted that the state government as well as leaders of different political parties have not invited the State Commission for Women, the apex women organization, Naga Mothers Association and the Eastern Naga Women Organisation and leaders of the women’s wing of different political parties in Nagaland to the January 29 debate nor copies of the draft Bill circulated for discussions. The member urged the Governor to ensure that the Act is strictly implemented at the earliest and the voices of women on the Women Reservation Bill is taken into account for submission to the Standing Committee on the said Bill.

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