NEW DELHI: Recently anointed as the safest state in the country for women, Nagaland, last week, witnessed an incident which is seen by the locals as a dent in its reputation, and which made them brave the rain to come out on streets in thousands to protest. The protest was against the rape of a 60 year old woman in Kohima, who was allegedly assaulted by one Thanwalo Magh. The woman was attacked while returning to her home after working in the paddy field.

The Kohima Village Council (KVC) helmed the protests which saw banners reading “Know your society, know your culture, respect yourself,” “Zero tolerance for rapist,” “Rapist no better than beast,” “Make our society safe for women,” etc. The rally started from a High School Junction and ended at Chief Minister’s house, where the protesters gave them a memorandum. The Memorandum was received by Deputy Commissioner Rovilatuo Mor.

In the document KVC demanded a strict and swift action against the accused, who has been arrested since. They demanded that Magh be not left out on bail, also a deployment of police force in their full strength and installation of CCTV cameras at all strategic points, were a part of their demands.

KVC Chairman Neivor Rutsa told Morung Express that mainly the organisation’s aim is “peace and security”, however, what has happened is beyond and justification and explanation.

During the protest March, the shopkeepers and traders as a gesture of solidarity didn’t open their shops. Some schools also declared the day a holiday, while the commuters refrained from taking out their motor-vehicles on the road.

It is believed that more than 10,000 people were part of the March, including women.

The Deputy Commissioner promised the department’s full commitment in resolving the matter and thanked KVC to maintain law and order and a sense of cleanliness during the march.

Nagaland is a close knit community with a heightened sense of intolerance for any crime done against its women. It was in March this year that an Assamese man was lynched by a mob of Nagas for allegedly raping a Naga woman. The Mob stormed the prison where the accused was lodged and dragged him to the clock-tower, beating him throughout the way, and executed him there.

According to the report recently published by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Nagaland emerged as the safest for women, tolling only 30 cases of rapes in last one year. The tally was 37,413 for the whole country for 2014.