Dimapur, July 11: The Government of Nagaland ambitious move to prepare a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) is facing flak from various sections, not over the intention behind the exercise but over the manner it was announced without public consultation.
As of Thursday (July 11), the RIIN exercise is yet to take off, a delay of 48-hours from its scheduled start of July 10, and it might get delayed further with the State Government belatedly realizing the need for “consultations and deliberations with participation from all sections and stakeholders.” The realization came after concerns were expressed by various sections including civil societies and tribal hohos.
The State Government had on June 29 notified that the process for preparation of RIIN – the master list of all indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland – will begin from July 10 onwards. The RIIN list will be prepared in 60 days from July 10, the notification announced.
After the notification, a meeting of apex tribal bodies with the Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants (JCPI) had resolved that the cut off year for all indigenous inhabitants other than the recognized Naga tribes of Nagaland should be 1st December, 1963, as per the Government notification of 1977. Incidentally the notification on RIIN had failed to mention the cut off year for someone to be counted as indigenous inhabitant.
On the other hand, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) has suggested that the RIIN exercise should be restricted to non-locals who may have taken citizenship in villages, towns/district headquarters/sub divisions with the base year as on 1st December, 1963. The federation had opined that the exercise should not create inconvenience to the general aborigine Nagas of Nagaland.
The NSF had also raised the issue of non-Nagas married to Nagas and also orphans adopted and raised in orphanages whose parents are unknown, including non-locals orphans adopted by Nagas whose real parents are unknown.
Also expressing concern, the Naga Hoho (NH) has pointed out that there was no clarity on the cut off year for identification of indigenous people, while also making it clear that the Government should have debated the issue before taking a call on it.
“I fear the process may divide the Nagas and have serious ramifications,” the NH president had said.
Perhaps responding to the concerns, the State Government today admitted the need for consultations and deliberations with participation from all sections and stakeholders.
In a press release issued today, State Home Commissioner, R Ramakrishnan said, “The guidelines for implementation of the policies are still at an early stage of formulation and will be finalised after extensive consultations are carried out.” He informed that the State Government will hold consultative meets with all sections and stakeholders so that the exercise so carried out are in everybody’s interest and protects the rights of all citizens.
On the June 29 notification, the Home Commissioner said the Government with a view to streamline the system of issue of Indigenous Inhabitant Certificates and also to maintain a record of such indigenous inhabitants had issued the notification for carrying out the RIIN exercise.
“Towards this, there have been views, opinions and concerns expressed by various sections including the civil societies and tribal hohos. The concerns and observations expressed by different sections is a welcome development, as such type of approach is the basis of any democratic society,” it said.
The State Government also assured the citizens that it will not take any hasty decision but rather the process will involve and engage civil society and the citizenry of the State and that no decision that is discriminatory or in contravention of the interest of people or any community will be undertaken.
As per the June 29 notification, the provisional RIIN lists prepared by the teams constituted will be published in the villages and wards as also on the website of the District and the State Government on September 11, 2019 and claims and objections can be filed for a period of 30 days (on or before October 10, 2019). (Page News Service)