NTC for December 1, 1963 as cut-off date
The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) would like to ventilate the issues in public domain which are likely to be tampered or altered, the constitutionally delegated privileges bestowed upon the aboriginal and indigenous people at the time of creation of the State – namely; 16-Point Agreement of 1960, Article 371A of the Constitution of India, and the State Government’s standing Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima, the 28 th April 1978 to maintain 1-12-1963 as the cut-off year for the purpose of indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland.
Enough representations with available records right from the creation of the Naga Hills District of Assam to the formation of the present Nagaland State have been submitted to the government for proper implementation. However, the government continues turning a deaf ear to this vital issue of concern till date and seemingly been contemplating to do things against the will of its own people.
One of the core issues is the proposal to implement Register of Indigenous Inhabitant of Nagaland (RIIN). It is to be stated for awareness of all concerned that when the people of Nagaland desires to assess the flow of illegal migration into the state and requiring streamlining the ILP, the state government has come up with the idea for Registration of our own native and aboriginal people but purportedly to let others conveniently go scot-free in the state which is beyond comprehension. Maybe, surreptitiously, the government may even have an unsurpassed purpose for the benefit of some few if not jeopardy of the future of Nagaland.
The Registration of Indigenous Inhabitant of Nagaland (RIIN) comprises of four parts. Part A – Findings, Part B – Comments of the Commission on the findings, Part C – Eligibility, and Part D-Recommendations.
In the RIIN Commission Report at Page/5 a, of Part A- Findings, the Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima, the 28 th April 1978 to maintain 1-12- 1963 as the cut-off year for the purpose of indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland is mentioned. However, the Commission in its comment at Page/15 of Part-B, (Comments of the Commission on the Findings) interpreted the above mentioned notification casting with complications and hence confuses the people. Cut-off year under BEFR Act 1873 can only screen out a person – other than the natives – settled in the state of Nagaland post creation of state. BEFR Act/ILP and RIIN are synonymous and cannot be separated from one another, but it is regretted to say that this important document is not recommended in its Part D- Recommendation column.
Everyone is well aware of the fact that Nagaland state was born out of Political Agreement with 16-Point Agreement which needs no further explanation.
The serial 16th of the 16-Point Agreement, the state is empowered to enforce the BEFR Act 1873/Inner Line Permit (ILP) within the entire territorial jurisdiction of Nagaland. Quote: “The rules embodied in the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 shall remain in force in Nagaland” unquote. This point of agreement is meant to enforce in the entire jurisdiction of Nagaland with no exception to the then Dimapur Sub-Division. The BEFR Act 1873 is further strengthened by the government’s Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima, the 28 th April, 1978 for the purpose of Indigenous Inhabitant in the state.
The Non-Naga Tribes of Nagaland, namely; Kachari, Garo, Kuki and Mikhir (Now Karbis) who settled in the state of Nagaland on or before 1-12-1963 were granted both Indigenous Tribe and Indigenous Inhabitant status. The same Act and Notification further protects the non-Naga communities of Nagaland including Dimapur Sub-Division, namely; Gorkhas, Marwaries, and Muslims who settled in the state of Nagaland on or before 1-12-1963 were accorded Indigenous Inhabitant as well. There are cases where Punjabis settled in Nagaland prior to 1-12-1963 were issued Indigenous Inhabitant Certificates. The pioneers have done systematic calculation and no communities or tribes were left out. The non-Naga Communities settled in Nagaland prior to 1-12-1963 also want that the aforementioned cut-off year be maintained in Nagaland. In the light of the above, it is to be stated that the statement in the press conference of the government published on 10 th May, 2023, quote: “And even though there were only around 100 families, if we ignore them, we will be doing them injustice” is highly exaggerated and irrelevant. It is to be pondered upon of those who are the 100 families and under whose favour. In whichever case it may be it is against the natural law of justice and hence unacceptable.
Making the matter worst and complicating the issue the state government has issued another Notification in the name of Tribal Belt or Compact Area vide Land Revenue Department Notification NO. LR/2-118/76 dated 21/11/1979 as referred to at Page/32, Part-B viii, of the RIIN report bifurcating the plain sector of the then Dimapur Sub-Division and demarcated the boundary. The whole Nagaland State is Tribal area and therefore, one wonders as to why there should be another tribal belt or compact area in the same state. It is just a notification of boundary demarcation and nothing is mentioned about identification of indigenous inhabitant.
However, the government proposes that a person settled in this area prior to 21st November 1979 is eligible for Indigenous Inhabitant status. Refer Government press conference published on 10 th May, 2023, quote: “…there was a need to have two datelines (cut off year… December 1, 1963 and November 21, 1979). There cannot be two different cut-off dates and years in this tiny State of Nagaland and hence unacceptable. The government’s Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima, the 28 th April 1978 as the yardstick for the purpose of indigenous inhabitant in Nagaland is enough.
Adding salt to the injury another peculiar case is recommended by the RIIN Commission which needs to be thoroughly evaluated. See Part-D.
Recommendations at Page/58, E. Proof of permanency of residence; Quote: “(1) Electoral Roll from 1963 -2019 with a personal declaration of not having been enrolled in any other state” unquote. The government’s eagerness to enforce easy way of RIIN/ILP w.e.f. 21 st November, 1979 in the state and Proof of permanent residence at Page/58 on the basis, E- above seemingly reveals the secret plan by itself. There cannot be a free license for settlement so as to make it a floodgate.
Therefore, the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) urges upon the government to incorporate the constitutionally delegated Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima, the 28 th April 1978, maintaining cut-off year of “1-12-1963” for the purpose of Indigenous Inhabitant in the state as “Recommendation No. 1” and nothing else. Further, the recommendation of Proof of permanency of residence at Page/58, “E. Proof of permanency of residence”; if not in consonance with 1-12- 1963 be deleted. The Tribal Belt or Compact Area Notification No. LR/2-118/76 Dated 21 st November 1979 must also be revoked.
Article 371A is a Constitutional provision empowered/delegated to the State at the time of creation to the state of Nagaland. It is precious in the sight of man and God. However, in recent days some of the state political leaders having responsible authority in government of the day have in a slapdash fashion even uttered that Article 371A is a hindrance to the development activities in the state. Instead of blaming the Constitutional status of provision that the people of Nagaland are blessed with, it would be better to do exercise to find out workable modalities for remedial measures. The Naga Village(s) and individual(s) are ready to part their land for development activities provided the government so requires but perhaps with a qualified negotiation as has been done in the earlier times. There is always a possibility for negotiation with the land owner for the purpose of any kind of developmental activities.
Just in the name of development works the government cannot take away any area of land or earmark any area(s) without any blue print project report. It amounts to deprivation of the land ownership and violation of the delegated power of Article 371A “Special provision with respect to the State of Nagaland” and Article 300A “Right to property” of the Constitution of India quote: “Persons not to be deprived of his property save by authority of Law”.
In a democratic country like India, land belongs to the people rather than state as in the case of communist countries. Nagaland is not an exception to it.
Barring Dimapur district, which is cadastral area, the entire land in Nagaland is non-cadastral. However, be it cadastral or non-cadastral land, there always is an owner and it belongs to the people. There is every possibility and chance of negotiation with the concerned Village authority or private individual for any developmental works.
The 16-Point Agreement of 1960; Article 371A of the Constitution of India; and the State Government of Nagaland’s Notification No. AR-8/8/76 dated Kohima, the 28 th April 1978 are beyond doubt, secured by the precious blood of our forefathers. These are the only protective Laws and inherent rights bestowed upon the people against exploitation by outsiders. Let us not rewrite the history of Nagaland after its 60 years of statehood and tamper with it. Rather love and protect it for all times to come in praise of our forefathers who had sacrificed their lives for us for today and tomorrow.
Media Cell, NTC