NGO FORUM UNDER THE AEGIS OF PEACE CHANNEL, NEISSR AND NACWR CONDUCTED SEMINAR OF ARTICLE 371 (A)
Seminar on Article 371(A) cum 1st general meeting of Govt Recognized NGO’s in Nagaland was conducted on 25th May at NEISSER Conference hall organized by Peace Channel, NEISSR, NACWR and NGO forum with an objective to impart the man concept of Article 371(A). The programme was chaired by Dr. Hasheto Chishi, director of Indigenous cultural Society. All together 107 participants attended for the programme.
Speaking on the occasion the resource person Dr. Luhevi Achumi, District and Session Judge (Retd), Head GB, Luhevi Village shared on the legal perspective on Article 371 (A) stating that four special provision are provided to the Nagas under the Article 371(A) viz. Religious on social practices of the Nagas, Nagas customary law and procedure, administration of Civil and Communal justice involving Decision according to Naga Customary Law, Ownership and transfer of land and its resources, shall apply to the state of Nagaland by a resolution to decide; by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, however he added that the special power given to the governor with respect to law and order and the provision under Article 245(2) has the power to over role the special provision under Article 371(A).
He also elucidated that during the olden days the Naga customary laws were used in settling cases or issues yet the people have became ignorant and were not aware of the customary law.
Mrs. Monalias Changkijan, editor Nagaland Page, Speaking on her perspective said Article 371(A) is completely silent with the economic factor. There is no provision under Article 371 (A) on how the state can formulate the economy of the state. She also mentioned that Article 371 (A) protects our culture, customary laws. She further mentioned that Article 371(A) does not have anything on electoral laws stating that nowhere it is mentioned that the village authority or the GB’s can select a candidate for election to the state assembly, which the Nagas are practicing which are contrary or against the people’s representative Act. She also mentions the Naga laws and practice that preclude women from political status, land ownership, inheritance and how Nagas are practicing patriarchal in its present form.
She further elucidated that the Naga women are being marginalized for centuries yet only men are privy to resources from the state, central, clans, tribal, land ownership etc. she added that, the women will get economic empowerment and the political power only when their rights and entitlements are provided.
Speaking on the beneficiaries’ perspective, the President, GB’s Federation, Mr. Salim Konyak stated on the journey of the Naga’s struggle and how the Article 371(A) came into being. He also added that the Nagas bought the Article 371 (A) with blood; this article has protected the rights of the Naga and from being exploited. However on development, this has hampered a lot as Nagas are setting on top of the government. He also question why Nagas got Article 371 (A) and what they were doing with it.
Speaking on the Respondent perspective Mr. Savi Liegise, Former President Naga council stated that Article 371(A) is a legal matter, he also emphasis on the four special provision mentioned by Dr. Luhevi Achumi. He added that Article 371 (A) is as good as independence but it has not been implemented in any logic as none has tasted the Article 371 (A) in its true perspective. He also stated that Nagaland is under a serious thread as Article 371 (A) a veto power of the state legislative assembly and if not modified at the earliest, everything will change and there will be a revolution. He also justified that Article 371 (A) is not to wage war with the government but to safeguard the Nagas as a whole.
Speaking on the Observer perspective Adv. Limanokchet stated that Article 371 (A) is a living words and not just a written documents, he also emphasized on women issues, taxation issues, judicial over-reach, marriage act etc. Mrs. Nungshirenla Aier, Advisor Naga Women Council, also spoke on the rights of the women stating that women are so much limited to the kitchen and are looked down therefore women should be empowered to protect their own rights both in socio-political status.
The whole programme was moderated by Dr. Fr. CP Anto, Director, Peace channel and Principal of NEISSR. He concluded the session with a challenged to each woman to come out of the cocoon and bring a changed. He also encouraged the participants to educate the people by educating themselves first.