Nagaland | Former CM Zeliang accused of making sexist remark in Assembly

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KOHIMA, March 1, 2019: Former chief minister and leader of opposition TR Zeliang has gotten himself in hot water after he allegedly made a sexist remark in his speech on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill during the third sitting of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly on February 25.

A statement from the women organisation of the NDPP accused Zeliang of making the remark: "As the saying goes, no man can serve two masters. Of course, some men can please two girls but no man can serve two masters."

"Such callous and insensitive language is not only unbecoming of a person of the stature of a leader of opposition who is also a former chief minister, but is a direct insult and a degradation of all women. Furthermore, it is extremely astonishing that a person who is a father to a daughter and a husband could make such chauvinistic and derogatory statements against women in the people's house, the highest decision-making body in the state.

"Today, when the world is talking of 'gender equality', what kind of example is the leader of opposition trying to set for the younger generations to follow? Or, is this the way that he actually perceives women? While people the world over including in India and Nagaland are trying to fight against molestation, harassment and assault on women, we have a people's leader who is making such remarks in a collective house of the state's lawmakers. Is this what is expected of our leaders whom we have elected to protect our rights and defend our dignity?" read the statement.

According to the party's women wing, its press statement was not an attempt at making a political statement but "to protect and defend the dignity and liberty of women in general, and Naga women in particular."

"We will not tolerate any person, be it an elected member or otherwise, to demean, belittle and insult women intentionally or otherwise. May it be reminded to TR Zeliang, that women in Naga society have always played a proactive role, supporting the men folk in every way, working shoulder to shoulder be it in the fields, offices, homes and even politics. Perhaps, holding high office has made him forget the sacrifices his mother, wife and daughter have made for him!

"It is therefore demanded that the leader of opposition Mr. TR Zeliang give a public apology to all women and at the same time retract his remark made on the floor of the NLA. The NDPP Women Organisation also gives a clarion call to all right-thinking citizens, both men and women, to come forward and condemn such derogatory, callous, in sensitive, irresponsible and chauvinistic statements made against women. The NDPP Women Organisation will stand firm on the party's commitment towards gender equality and is prepared to defend any woman from discrimination and abuse," it stated.

With Eastern Mirror inputs