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Nagaland ULB elections: NSF stands firm on only indigenous representation in local bodies


“Electing non-Naga individuals to local governance positions poses a significant risk to the preservation of our cultural heritage. Such appointments could disrupt the traditional systems that have long sustained our communities and dilute the cultural legacy that defines us as a people, it said.

By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent

Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), in collaboration with its federating units and subordinate bodies, on Tuesday reiterated its firm stance on the paramount importance of indigenous representation in the upcoming Urban Local Body (ULB) elections in Nagaland.

NSF in a joint press statement issued by its president, Medovi Rhi, and general secretary, Chumben Khuvung, said as the ULB elections in the state approach (June 26), it underscores the necessity of ensuring that the voices and aspirations of the indigenous Naga populace are authentically represented in all decision-making processes.

“The Naga people have a rich history and vibrant culture that are intricately woven into the fabric of our governance structures and Central to this governance is the observance of customary laws and traditional practices, which are not merely symbolic gestures but are the very essence of Naga identity”, NSF said. These practices have been handed down through generations and are vital for maintaining social cohesion and continuity within our communities while also adding that it is within this context that the NSF emphasizes the critical need to elect individuals who embody and respect these traditions, it added.

“Electing non-Naga individuals to local governance positions poses a significant risk to the preservation of our cultural heritage. Such appointments could disrupt the traditional systems that have long sustained our communities and dilute the cultural legacy that defines us as a people”, furthered the NSF while it strongly believed that indigenous representation in local governance is not just a matter of political correctness but a fundamental necessity for the survival of our cultural identity.

In light of these concerns, the NSF staunchly advocates that contestation in the ULB elections be reserved exclusively for indigenous Naga individuals of Nagaland state and that the candidates must be Nagas by blood, not by adoption.

Furthermore, the NSF strongly advocated for the exclusion of women married to non-locals from contesting in these elections as this stance is rooted in a deep-seated understanding of the intrinsic connection between governance, culture, and identity, which collectively shape the socio-political landscape of Nagaland.

In this regard, the NSF has called upon all stakeholders including the general public, to uphold the sanctity of indigenous representation while urging every member of Naga society to recognize the importance of electing representatives who are deeply rooted in Naga traditions and who would work to preserve its unique cultural heritage.

Also stating that it is imperative that the essence of Naga identity and agency is safeguarded at the local level, NSF said by ensuring that only genuine representatives of the Naga people are elected, Nagas could maintain the integrity of its decision-making processes and authentically articulate the aspirations and interests of Nagas populace.

Also mentioning that the ensuing ULB elections represent a critical juncture for the people of Nagaland, however, the NSF said it is a moment where Nagas must collectively decide to preserve its heritage and ensure that its voices are heard in the corridors of power and appealed to all conscious keepers of the state to join hands in this endeavour.

“We must work together to ensure that our cultural heritage, customary laws, and traditional practices are respected and preserved”, NSF added and further called for unity and collective action in upholding the sanctity of Indigenous representation, and also went on to express that Nagas history has shown that the strength of the Naga people lies in its unity and its commitment to shared values and by standing together, can protect the rights and interests of the Indigenous Naga people and ensure that its cultural and traditional practices continue to thrive.

NSF also said it remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting the rights and interests of the indigenous Naga people and would continue to advocate for policies and practices that reflect Naga traditions and values and believed that by ensuring genuine indigenous representation in local governance, it could foster a society that is not only progressive but also deeply connected to its roots.

Later, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), along with its federating units and subordinate bodies, have urged every citizen of Nagaland to take this call to action seriously as the upcoming ULB elections are not just a political exercise but a defining moment for Nagas cultural and social future and must ensure that the representatives the Nagas elect are those who understand and value its traditions and are committed to preserving the cultural fabric that makes Nagaland unique.

“Let us stand united in this mission to protect our heritage and ensure a future where the voices of the indigenous Naga people are not only heard but are integral to the governance and progress of our state. Together, we can achieve a future that honours our past and builds on the strong foundation of our cultural heritage”, the NSF maintained and further added that the NSF is confident that with collective effort and a shared vision, we can uphold the sanctity of indigenous representation and ensure the continued progress and prosperity of Nagaland.

It also pledged to remain vigilant and proactive in this cause, and called upon all Nagas to join them in this important journey.

Others who attended Tuesday’s presidential council meet held at NSF headquarter office, Kohima, included presidents of Lotha Students’ Union (LSU), Lihorthung E Kithan, Chakhesang Student’s Union (CSU), Pfhiilo Sara, Rengma Students’ Union (RSU), Ajo Tsela, Zeliangrong Students’ Union Nagaland (ZSUN), Adaube Hiekha, Angami Students’ Union (ASU), K David Mere, Pochury Students’ Union (PSU), Rongley Leyri, Ao Kaketshir Mungdang (AKM), Lanutoshi Aier, representative to NSF of All Sumi Students’ Union (SKK), Hipito Achumi, Dimapur Naga Students’ Union (DNSU), Hinoto P Aomi, Diphupar Naga Students’ Union (DNSU), Lenisang Jamir, and All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU), Tenyesinlo Bukh.

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