Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Resolution on women quota and Naga political issue

ULB poll with 33% Reservation, One solution one agreement

Correspondent
In a significant development, the apex tribal bodies, civil society organizations, church leaders and legislators, after a day-long deliberation on the contentious issue of women reservation in Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), agreed to hold the ULB polls with 33 per cent reservation for women.
This was among the two-point resolution unanimously adopted at the meeting, jointly signed by chief minister Neiphiu Rio, deputy chief minister Y, Patton and UDA chairman T.R Zeliang. The house also resolved to work towards “one solution and one agreement” on the Naga issue.
The two-point resolution stated that– 1. The Naga people are yearning for an early political so-lution. The negotiating parties should earnestly heed to this call and arrive at a political solution that is honorable, inclusive, transparent and acceptable to the people. The House further appeals to all sections to make renewed efforts towards unity and understanding in order to work to-wards One Solution and One Agreement.

  1. The elections to the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) should be conducted as per the 74th Amendment Act of the Constitution of India.
    The consultative meeting convened by the State government was attended by over 120 individuals, including legislators and representatives of apex tribal bodies, civil society organizations and church bodies.
    Speaking at the consultative, chief minister Neiphiu Rio stressed that the Naga political issue continues to be at the core of Naga society, as the people had undergone political turmoil, violence, and social instability due to the unresolved issue.
    Highlighting the significant milestones on the journey of the Naga issue, Rio said it was the right time to give the finishing touches to the Naga issue, adding that the Government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi was ready to go the extra mile to resolve the Naga issue in an honourable manner.
    On women reservation, Rio pointed out that 33 per cent women reservation in municipalities was part and parcel of the 74th Amendment and no one was exempted from it. “…There is nothing we can do about it,” Rio stated. He said that women reservation for ULBs was a progressive step.
    It may be noted that the deliberation on women quota at the consultative meeting holds significance as the Supreme Court on February 22 gave the Nagaland government six weeks to re-port back on how it proposed to implement 33% reservation for women in municipal and town councils, cautioning that the court was open to issuing a judicial order to secure 33% reservation for women if the administration didn’t take steps on its own.
    The top court was hearing a plea filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and others seeking to hold elections for all Municipalities and Town Councils in Nagaland forthwith in accordance with Section 23A of the Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act, 2006 and the Notification of the State Government.
    The state government’s decision to hold the ULB elections in 2017, under the then chief minister TR Zeliang, snowballed into a major crisis as the tribal hohos and civil societies opposed the move asserting that it would infringe on the special rights guaranteed by Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.
    The issue also led to breakdown of law and order in the State, claiming the lives of two youth, while government and private properties were also damaged as the state witnessed violent protests.

Confusion on ULB issue cleared: Mmhonlumo
Later, addressing a press conference at Civil Secretariat conference hall IT&C adviser Mmhonlumo Kikon, who co-chaired the consultative meet, said all confusions over ULBs were cleared at the meeting as the attendees gave their full support to hold the polls.
“Everybody supported 33% reservation for women in ULBs,” he claimed and termed the development “historic”.
He informed the media that the chief minister, deputy chief minister, UDA chairman and advocate general (AG) KN Balgopal clearly explained before the House the situation keeping in mind the Supreme Court order. Thereafter, he claimed that a consensus was reached to go ahead with the elections.
When the matter was placed before the House, he said the participants raised their hands on the resolution not once but twice.
To a query when the ULB elections would be held, the adviser replied that certain modalities would have to be worked out, including filing a response to the apex court, before the schedule could be announced. He added that more information would be shared in a few weeks’ time.
Regarding urban taxation, he mentioned that the chief minister and AG explained that taxes were collected from residents of a particular town for the town’s upkeep.
On repeated consultative meets over women reservation in ULBs, Mmhonlumo acknowledged that, following the Supreme Court order, series of meetings were held as ULB elections could not be held due to stiff opposition from CSOs. He said holding the polls without consulting the civil society groups would have become another contentious issue.

Highest intellectual gathering: Kronu
Meanwhile, Planning & Coordination, Land Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs minister Neiba Kronu, who chaired the consultative meeting and was present at the press conference, told re-porters, with the resolution having adopted, CSOs could organise “any kind” of meeting and invite the legislators to speak on the demand for an early solution.
He termed the Wednesday’s consultative meeting as one of the highest intellectual gatherings the state has witnessed, where all the representatives shared their opinions.
He said both the resolutions were adopted after a lengthy discussion, while clarifying that though the State government was a facilitator in the Naga peace process, “we are serious because how long do we have to wait” and raising the issue on the eve of every election would not help.
He mentioned that as people wanted an early solution, all the participants at the consultative meet too expressed their desire for an early solution.
As some major political parties abstained from attending the earlier consultative meet held on October 15, 2020, Kronu explained that the Wednesday’s consultative meet was organised after UDA came into being.
He further informed the media that a delegation led by Rio, Patton and Zeliang would leave for New Delhi on Thursday to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Though the government’s role as a facilitator was limited, he claimed that it had gone out of its way to play the role “very pro-actively” because any outcome would impact the people, and it was important to convey the voice of the people to the negotiating parties through a consultation.
Earlier, the UDA chairman gave the opening remark at the consultative meet, while the deputy chief minister delivered a speech and the chief minister gave the keynote address. The AG briefed the meeting on the implications of not holding ULB elections without women reservation.
Besides Mmhonlumo, the meeting was also co-chaired by NPF legislators Yitachu.
Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) general secretary Rev Z Keyho pronounced invocation prayer, while State chaplain Rev TW Yamyap Konyak proposed benediction prayer.

Resolutions adopted in our absence, says NPCC

Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC), who was among the invitees to the consultative meeting, alleged that the resolutions adopted at the meeting was done so in its absence.
NPCC president K. Therie, in a statement, claimed that chief minister Neiphiu Rio had said that there was no need for any resolution, to which Congress had also agreed.
On the Naga peace process, he said his party had told the meeting that there were two official agreements between Centre and Naga national workers– the Framework Agreement and the Agreed Position – and the issues of sovereignty and integration were dropped after over 20 years of negotiations.
Therefore, NPCC representatives had stated in the meeting that the State government could only press for implementation of the agreements, which would impact the people of Nagaland. Thus, the 60 legislators who had come together for a political solution should press for implementation of the agreements, he added.
“We cannot decide for other States since the issue of integration is no more. Even if we decide, they will not agree and if they decide for us, even we may not agree. Therefore, the 60 MLAs should concentrate on the welfare of the people of Nagaland they represent,” Therie stressed.
Regarding elections to urban local bodies (ULB) with 33% reservation for women, he claimed that Congress had no objection and had agreed to implement the Supreme Court order with some amendments suggested at the meeting.

Mmhonlumo Kikon and Neiba Kronu addressing press conference after the consultative meeting. (NP)

six weeks to re-port back on how it proposed to implement 33% reservation for women in municipal and town councils, cautioning that the court was open to issuing a judicial order to secure 33% reservation for women if the administration didn’t take steps on its own.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and oth-ers seeking to hold elections for all Municipalities and Town Councils in Nagaland forthwith in accordance with Section 23A of the Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act, 2006 and the Notification of the State Government.
The state government’s decision to hold the ULB elections in 2017, under the then chief min-ister TR Zeliang, snowballed into a major crisis as the tribal hohos and civil societies opposed the move asserting that it would infringe on the special rights guaranteed by Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.
The issue also led to breakdown of law and order in the State, claiming the lives of two youth, while government and private properties were also damaged as the state witnessed vio-lent protests.
Confusion on ULB issue cleared: Mmhonlumo
Later, addressing a press conference at Civil Secretariat conference hall IT&C adviser Mmhonlumo Kikon, who co-chaired the consultative meet, said all confusions over ULBs were cleared at the meeting as the attendees gave their full support to hold the polls.
“Everybody supported 33% reservation for women in ULBs,” he claimed and termed the de-velopment “historic”.
He informed the media that the chief minister, deputy chief minister, UDA chairman and advo-cate general (AG) KN Balgopal clearly explained before the House the situation keeping in mind the Supreme Court order. Thereafter, he claimed that a consensus was reached to go ahead with the elections.
When the matter was placed before the House, he said the participants raised their hands on the resolution not once but twice.
To a query when the ULB elections would be held, the adviser replied that certain modalities would have to be worked out, including filing a response to the apex court, before the schedule could be announced. He added that more information would be shared in a few weeks’ time.
Regarding urban taxation, he mentioned that the chief minister and AG explained that taxes were collected from residents of a particular town for the town’s upkeep.
On repeated consultative meets over women reservation in ULBs, Mmhonlumo acknowledged that, following the Supreme Court order, series of meetings were held as ULB elections could not be held due to stiff opposition from CSOs. He said holding the polls without consulting the civil society groups would have become another contentious issue.
Highest intellectual gathering: Kronu
Meanwhile, Planning & Coordination, Land Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs minister Neiba Kronu, who chaired the consultative meeting and was present at the press conference, told re-porters, with the resolution having adopted, CSOs could organise “any kind” of meeting and invite the legislators to speak on the demand for an early solution.
He termed the Wednesday’s consultative meeting as one of the highest intellectual gatherings the state has witnessed, where all the representatives shared their opinions.
He said both the resolutions were adopted after a lengthy discussion, while clarifying that though the State government was a facilitator in the Naga peace process, “we are serious be-cause how long do we have to wait” and raising the issue on the eve of every election would not help.
He mentioned that as people wanted an early solution, all the participants at the consultative meet too expressed their desire for an early solution.
As some major political parties abstained from attending the earlier consultative meet held on October 15, 2020, Kronu explained that the Wednesday’s consultative meet was organised after UDA came into being.
He further informed the media that a delegation led by Rio, Patton and Zeliang would leave for New Delhi on Thursday to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Though the government’s role as a facilitator was limited, he claimed that it had gone out of its way to play the role “very pro-actively” because any outcome would impact the people, and it was important to convey the voice of the people to the negotiating parties through a consulta-tion.
Earlier, the UDA chairman gave the opening remark at the consultative meet, while the deputy chief minister delivered a speech and the chief minister gave the keynote address. The AG briefed the meeting on the implications of not holding ULB elections without women reserva-tion.
Besides Mmhonlumo, the meeting was also co-chaired by NPF legislators Yitachu. Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) general secretary Rev Z Keyho pronounced invoca-tion prayer, while State chaplain Rev TW Yamyap Konyak proposed benediction prayer.

SourceNPN