Dimapur, Feb. 15: For some curious reason(s), women continue to be at the forefront of the second phase of state-wide shutdown called by the Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) and the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) to protest the refusal of chief minister TR Zeliang to step down on moral grounds in the aftermath of the killing of two youths in a police firing on the night of January 31 last in Dimapur.
For the past three days, the shutdown imposed in Dimapur has witnessed maximum participation from women. Hundreds of women volunteers in their respective traditional wears have been standing vigil across various locations in Dimapur in response to the call made by the NTAC and the JCC since Monday last.
Even as the JCC announced that the duration of the shutdown has been revised as from 9 am to 4 pm, the turnout of women agitators in Dimapur on Wednesday was the highest yet. However, there were also reports of some tribes warning members with monetary penalty if they don’t turn up at the designated locations.
In Dimapur, the shutdown remained peaceful in almost all the places – except for one or two locations. According to reports, some shops/hotels inside Zeliangrong village at Dhobinullah and evening market at Signal basti had defied the bandh call.On hearing that some of the shops/hotels were open at these locations, youths enforcing the bandh rushed to the areas and ensured that the shops remain closed. At Signal evening bazaar, it was alleged that the youths destroyed even some of the sheds constructed to accommodate vegetable sellers.
(Our Correspondent) The third day of the state-wide bandh called by the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) and Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) saw more than 500 women come out in support of the bandh in Kohima today.
The women, in their respective traditional attires, were stationed at the Civil Secretariat till 3 pm. Taking to media persons, some of the women volunteers said their coming out in support of the bandh was not about the issue of 33% women reservation but ‘for the unity of the Nagas for a common cause.’
Sharing her view on the present imbroglio between the state government and the Naga civil societies, a woman volunteer opined that though the problem started with ULB elections and women reservation, the present situation has become different as lives have been lost.
In this regard, she strongly asserted that chief minister, TR Zeliang should own moral responsibility and step down as demanded by the Nagas as “he has betrayed the trust of the Nagas and people have lost trust and confidence in his leadership.”
Since the issue has become a common cause of the Nagas, she maintained, it was worth bearing the difficulties for something good to come out at the end of the day. “We will fight hand in hand with the rest of the Nagas till the end”, she added.
Another woman volunteer said while unceasingly praying for peace to prevail in the state, “we are also ready to come out anytime whenever our physical support is required for the cause of the Nagas.”
Another said ‘we just want peace and normal life to return back’, and at the same time strongly asserted that the women will stand together and stay united for the “cause of the Nagas”.
When asked if they have come out under directives of their respective apex tribe bodies, and whether they are for or against 33% women reservation, the women echoed that they have come out voluntarily when informed about their participation.
In response to this, one of the women opined that reservation was not “very necessary in the context of Nagaland” as, according to her, men and women are considered and treated equal in Naga society.
Acknowledging the support of women, an AYO official said ‘through the unceasing prayers of our mothers the situation which could have turned for the worst in the past few weeks has been diffused to a peaceful protest now.’
He also requested them to continue to pray for the future of the Nagas, and sought their cooperation and support in days to come.
(Our Correspondent) Volunteers from all Lotha frontal organizations, the Lotha Hoho with LHJAC and Lotha Eloe Hoho gathered at Police Point from 9am to 3 pm to impose the total bandh on Wednesday. Ao Senden Wokha Unit also extended support its support.
More than 40 autorickshaws assisted students appearing NBSE exams with free ride from Police Point to Forest Colony Junction at Wokha today. The Union has informed that it will continue to give same assistance to the students until the exams are over.
The Sumi Hoho on Wednesday informed that the bandh in Zunheboto town went on peacefully on Wednesday even as exams for classes X, XI and XII were conducted “uninterrupted”.
“The Sumi Hoho officials assured full cooperation to the examination centres and all possible care is taken to ensure that no form of harassment or fear psychosis is meted out to students and officials involved in the conduct of the examinations. The bandh shall continue indefinitely, for which, the Sumi Hoho and the ZTYO has requested the public and all the concerned to kindly cooperate,” read a statement.
The Chakhesang Youth Front (CYF) has partially lifted the bandh on public movement and its related daily activities due to ongoing NBSE examination.
But all offices under the state government remain sealed and government registered vehicles are strictly restricted to ply within Phek district, it has informed.
The bandh in Tuensang town also passed off peacefully, according to the Chang Khulei Setshang. It informed that the bandh will continue till further notice, and that vehicles entering to and exit from Tuensang town during the bandh hours will not be allowed “except on serious case.”