NSA panel discussion on delimitation in Manipur and Nagaland

DIMAPUR | Publish Date: 7/12/2020 1:02:01 PM IST

Naga Scholars Association (NSA) organized its 3rd webinar panel discussion on the topic “Delimitation in Manipur and Nagaland” on July 11, wherein the panelists were Prof. Rosemary Dzuvichu, Jonas Yanthan, Elu Ndang and Worso Zimik.
A press release from NSA general secretary, Dr. Lungthuiyang Riamei stated that, Dr Zuchamo Yanthan, president NSA highlighted in brief the legal underpinning of delimitation.
The first speaker, Prof. Rosemary gave the opening remark on the problem in Nagaland which erupted right after the RP Desai Delimitation Commission announced the redacted electoral process on deferment of the earlier Delimitation Act in Nagaland (and Manipur). She observed that, rectifying and re-adjusting the blatantly skewed development process demanded a just course of the electoral process which significantly hinges on the census data. She further stated the gross violation of rights in the politics of constituency representation in Nagaland which is 1973 census-based and expressed the 2011 census as a better option.
The second speaker, Worso Zimik dwelled, on the legal structure and its functionality in society. He highlighted the asymmetry between the territorial settlements and the demographic spread in Manipur. Pinning down to the politics of representation, out of 60 legislative seats, 40 are reserved for the valley people, and 19 are reserved for the STs and one an unreserved seat. Hammering on the productivity of the minorities, this gross political deprivation, he specifically asserted was the economic downside of the country’s legal structure.
The third speaker, Elu Ndang opined that compounded by the current COVID-19 fiasco and debacle, and the delimitation scenario was concomitant of perilous social unrest if one was not cautious enough. He reasoned on the need to avoid the nitty-gritty of past inactions but make the most of the present looking at the posterity’s need. For instance, he noted, 2001 census in Nagaland was never an issue in development matters (like government schemes) until the delimitation announcement.
The fourth speaker, Jonas Yanthan, argued that there was an attitude problem by some sections on the issue of delimitation, and that these groups of people see the delimitation exercise only as “transfer of seats from one district to another, or from one tribe to another, loss and gain of seat etc”. He further stated that linking the issue of delimitation and Naga peace talk is demeaning to the very sacred issue of the Naga cause.
The panel discussion came up with some findings and observations, where the main purpose of delimitation was not to deprive any district or tribe, rather, it was an exercise to bring proportionate representation of the people for equitable development. It also observed that facts and figures indicate that there was discrimination against some sections in the distribution of seats not only in Nagaland but also in Manipur. Exercising delimitation was not only necessary but also important for rectifying past mistakes for bringing social justice, as delimitation exercise was a constitutional exercise, and it does not violate the special provision of the Article 371A. Panel also observed that Naga solution and delimitation were two very different issues, hence, both issue cannot be linked together. The use of 2001 census in Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 was an indication of its recognition and validity by government of Nagaland.
Finally there was an urgent call for justice, peace and understanding among the Nagas to uplift one another and not to look at each other as rivals. The rapportuer of the panel discussion was Shimreisa Chahongnao.


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