Nagaland civic polls: 140 candidates withdraw from ULB election fearing persecution

New Delhi: Even as tribal bodies in Nagaland boycott upcoming civic polls opposing the constitutional provision of 33 percent reservation of seats in civic polls, 140 intending candidates have withdrawn their nomination in the last one week.

The Eastern Mirror Nagaland on Wednesday reported that 72 intending candidates rolled back their decision to contest in the civic polls on 17 January, the last date to withdraw nomination. Earlier 68 candidates had withdrawn nomination taking the tally up to 140.
The newspaper also reported that four town councils namely Pfutsero, Chumukdema, Chozuba and Mangplemba saw withdrawal of all the candidates.

 Nagaland civic polls: 140 candidates withdraw from ULB election fearing persecution

Representational image. AFP

The report also stated that after the withdrawals, 349 nominations stood unwithdrawn.

The withdrawals came on the face of diktat issued by the tribal bodies on the intending candidates to refrain from the election. Many of the tribal bodies also mentioned in the diktat that candidates failing to withdraw may face social exclusion, non-cooperation, social exclusion, barring from leadership, responsibility for any eventuality relating to urban local body (ULB) elections 2017.

Naga tribal bodies have also ex-communicated a number of candidates who failed to withdraw their nominations.

Lotha Ho Ho, a tribal apex body ex-communicated a candidate named Viketu Nienu in Phek district.

A copy of the ex-communication order accessed by Firstpost reads that, "He is banished from Chakhesang region in Phek district with effect from 17/01/2017, for a period of 7(seven) years as per our customary laws."

The district administration of Phek district imposed a prohibitory order under section 144 CrPC in Phek town, following incidents of violence by mobs on the streets and the residences of the candidates refusing to withdraw.

A Nagaland Post report said that incidents of violence took place in the district on Tuesday, where residence of three candidates were vandalised and vehicles were damaged.

The report stated that one policeman was also injured while attempting to control the mob. Police used tear gas, baton-charged protesters and blank fired to disperse the mob.

Many of the intending candidates who did not withdraw their nomination fled to save themselves from such attacks.

Reportedly some of the candidates who took shelter in Kohima, the capital of Nagaland faced similar threats there too.

Angami Youth Organisation, another Naga group issued a press release which stated, “It has come to the notice of the Angami Youth Organisation that some intending candidate to the ULB who have been ex-communicated by their community have relocated themselves to angami areas in Dimapur and Kohima. AYO will not allow such negative characters who have refused to listen to the voice of their community and the Nagas in general to come and pollute our land, our community and the people residing in our land. Therefore AYO directs these individuals to immediately relocate themselves elsewhere, if not, AYO will take own course of action to any extremity."

The present crisis in Nagaland, on account of the government’s decision to reserve 33 percent seats for women in the civic polls slated on 1st of February has aroused the debate of applicability of the 74th amendment of the Indian Constitution in Nagaland, a state that is provided with constitutional protection under it’s Article 371(A).

TR Zeliang, Chief Minister of Nagaland said addressing the candidates in the election, "Article 371 A clearly says that ‘notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, no Act of the Parliament in respect of’ four points ‘shall apply to the State of Nagaland unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides", reported a press release issued by the Chief Minister’s Media Cell.

“We must differentiate here what are Acts of Parliament and what are Constitutional provisions. Article 243 T which gives reservation for women in ULBs is not an Act of the Parliament which Nagaland Legislative Assembly can decide whether to adopt or not – it is an Article of the Constitution of India which we cannot decide whether it should be applied to Nagaland or not," he said.

Stating that debating over an Article of the Constitution of India whether should be applied or not as a futile exercise, he said, "As long as we are part of the Union of India, the Constitution of India will be binding on us and we cannot deny this fact."

Naga Ho Ho, an apex body of the Nagas earlier stated that the committee to scrutinise Parliamentary Laws for Application to Nagaland constituted by the Nagaland Assembly is of the consensus view that the 33 percent reservation of seats for women infringes on the social and customary practices of the Nagas, the safeguards of which is enshrined in Article 371A of the Constitution of India.

The Naga body said that, the sections of the Municipal Act of Nagaland related to the building and property tax of are also detrimental to the "Naga society so as to protect the rights and aspiration of the Naga people."

Updated Date: Jan 18, 2017 22:12:38 IST