Feminists Condemn Opposition To Women’s Reservation In Nagaland Municipal Councils

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.

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. 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, jusice 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.

Signed by over 150 women and women’s 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 Nu Foundation

11.     All India Progressive Women’s Association

12.     Olakh

13.     Akshara

14.     North East Network

15.     Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti

16.     Nirantar

17.     Kosi Navnirman Manch

18.     Joint Women’s Program

19.     Bebaak Collective

20.     Matu Kan Sangathan

21.     Sangatin Samooh

22.     CASAM

23.     SANGRAM

24.     Feminism in India

25.     Partners in Law Development

26.     Women Power Connect

27.     Gender, Livelihoods and Resources Forum

28.     Food Sovereignty Alliance

29.     IRDSO Manipur



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.   Indira Jaising

31.   Janaki Abraham

32.   Japleen Pasricha

33.   Jashodhara Dasupta

34.   Jhuma Sen

35.   Kalpana Mehta

36.   Kalyani Menon Sen

37.   Kamayani Bali Mahabal

38.   Kamini Tankha

39.   Kamla Bhasin

40.   Kavita Krishnan

41.   Kavita Srivastav

42.   Khyochano Ovung

43.   Kiran Shaheen

44.   Krishnakant

45.   Lata Singh

46.   Laxmi Murthy

47.   Madhu Mehra

48.   Madhu Bhushan

49.   Mahendra Yadav

50.   Manasi Pingle

51.   Mary Beth Sanate

52.   Mary John

53.   Medha Patkar

54.   Meena Seshu

55.   Meera Sanghamitra

56.   Mihira Sood

57.   Mini Mathew

58.   Mira Shiva

59.   Mohan Rao

60.   Monisha Behal

61.   Mukul Mangalik

62.   S Maya

63.   Nalini Vishwanathan

64.   Nalini Nayak

65.   Nandini Sundar

66.   Nandita Shah

67.   Nasreen Habib

68.   Neeta Hardikar

69.   Neera Javed Malik

70.   Nimisha Desai

71.   Nisha Biswas

72.   Nonibala Narengbham

73.   Padma Deosthali

74.   Padmini Kumar

75.   Pamela Philipose

76.   Panchali Ray

77.   Parul Sethi

78.   Patricia Mukhim

79.   Pramada Menon

80.   Pooja Bhatia

81.   Pushpa Achanta

82.   Radhika Desai

83.   Ratna Appender

84.   Renu Singh

85.   Richa Singh

86.   Rina Mukherji

87.   Ritu Dewan

88.   Rohini Hensman

89.   Roshmi Goswami

90.   Runu Chakraborty

91.   Sadhna Arya

92.   Sagari Ramdas

93.   Sana Contractor

94.   Sarojini N

95.   Saswati Ghosh

96.   Satnam Kaur

97.   Savita Sharma

98.   Seema Baquer

99.   Sejal Dand

100.  Shabnam Hashmi

101.  Sharanya Nayak

102.  Shewli Kumar

103.  Shoma Sen

104.  Sonali Udaybabu

105.  Sophia Khan

106.  Soma K P

107.  Subhash Gatade

108.  Subashri Krishnan

109.  Sujatha Gothoskar

110.  Sumi Krishna

111.  Suneetha Dhar

112.  Surajit Sarkar

113.  Svati Joshi

114.  Svati Shah

115.  Swarnlatha

116.  Teena Gill

117.  Ujwala Kadrekar

118.  Uma Chakravarti

119.  Uma Chandru

120.  Urvashi Butalia

121.  Urvashi Sarkar

122.  Vahida Nainar

123.  Vandana


124.  Vani Subramanian

125.  Vibhuti Patel

126.  Vimal Bhai

127.  Vipin Krishna

128.  Virginia Saldanha

129. Mary Beth
130. Syeda Hameed
131. Nivedita Menon

3 thoughts on “Feminists Condemn Opposition To Women’s Reservation In Nagaland Municipal Councils”

  1. When the whole country is lagging behind in implementing the thirty-three percent quota for women, the Naga women have tried to move a step forward by their determined efforts to implement the reservations in civic polls. The centre as well as state are not only complicit in hindering the enforcement of the proposal, but also furtively fanning agitations against women activists supporting women’s reservations. The civil society in the country must express solidarity with protesting Nagaland women and feminist organisations and do not relent until the reservations are followed. A beginning must be made urgently. Then only, a mass movement can be developed to pass the women’s reservation bill which is penspding for years due to make hegemony in political parties. Women of all mainstream parties should unite and form alternative political struggles to implement the quota which is a natural fundamental right of gender equality.


  2. While there is nothing wrong in supporting the cause of women empowerment and condemning any move that suppresses women’s right, the issue concerning Nagaland ULB’s election needs to be look at from a broader context. Firstly, it is not primarily a women reservation issue; rather it is a constitutional crisis arising out of special provision granted to Nagaland under Article 371A. Secondly, despite the patriarchal society, women in Nagaland are well respected and equally treated by their male counterparts in social sphere better than most other women in India. They are socially empowered not by the state laws but by the customs and Tradition of Nagas. Politically, though the state legislature has negligible or zero women representation, but it is still inclusive and pro women. Having said that, women participation should be encourage and they should have a say in decision making process. But this should be done through a different mechanism that does not conflict with the Naga’s internal administration and customary laws protected under the constitution.
    I’m a pro-woman too, but it would be premature to tag the ongoing Nagaland issue as anti-women and safeguarding male interest. Naga men love, respect and regard their women as much as any other forward looking society do, or even more, but as mention earlier, this is primarily a constitutional conflicts to which women’s reservation is a part and not the prime.


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