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Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio allays fears over RIIN

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has allayed fears over an exercise akin to Assam’s National Register of Citizens allegedly designed to leave out certain Nagas and non-Nagas for their eventual eviction or denial of opportunities. File

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has allayed fears over an exercise akin to Assam’s National Register of Citizens allegedly designed to leave out certain Nagas and non-Nagas for their eventual eviction or denial of opportunities. File

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has allayed fears over an exercise akin to Assam’s National Register of Citizens allegedly designed to leave out certain Nagas and non-Nagas for their eventual eviction or denial of opportunities.

He also said the State lost substantial grants under the Finance Commission for failing to hold the urban local body (ULB) polls in 2018 with 33% reservation for women.

The Nagaland government, through a notification on June 29, 2019, decided to update the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) with December 1, 1963, as the cut-off date for the inclusion of people in it. The exercise was put on hold after opposition from various quarters.

Nagaland was carved out of Assam as a State on December 1, 1963. Some organisations demanded that the cut-off date be changed to April 28, 1977, when the State government issued a notification that laid down the criteria for issuing indigenous inhabitant certificates to the residents when the State was formed.

“Citizens of India should not be denied their rights. Therefore, decisions on RIIN should be well thought out and should not cause any panic, chaos or harassment to anyone or any community,” Mr. Rio said at a six-hour consultative meeting in State capital Kohima between the government and leaders of apex Naga tribal bodies on Wednesday evening.

He said the government was of the view that every Naga should trace his or her roots to a village within the boundaries of Nagaland and the ancestry will be verified through a four-tier mechanism after which he or she will be included in the RIIN.

Similarly, members of non-Naga tribes such as Kachari, Garo and Kuki who can trace their ancestry to a village established before Nagaland’s statehood would be entitled to register as indigenous inhabitants. The village council concerned would have to certify such people with a condition that they will be punished according to customary laws if found to have issued faulty certificates.

Gurkhas who settled in present-day Nagaland before 1940 would be categorised as permanent residents without any curtailment of benefits they are enjoying now, Mr. Rio said.

“Indian citizens who settled in Nagaland before its statehood would be eligible for a permanent residence certificate, possess immovable property and would not require an inner-line permit (ILP) for movement within the State,” he said.

Nagaland is one of four northeastern States that require an ILP for Indian citizens beyond to possess for entry. This permit is based on the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873.

The Chief Minister lamented the “ugly controversy” that erupted in 2018 after the government decided to implement 33% reservation for women in the ULB polls. Apex Naga social organisations and certain pressure groups opposed the reservation, which they said violated traditions and customs. The State was denied substantial grants for not holding the ULB polls, he added.

“The Senior Additional Advocate General of Nagaland had clearly stated that municipality is not a traditional customary institution of the Nagas. Hence, the contention that reservation for women in the municipality is violative of the rights guaranteed to the Nagas under Article 371-A of the Constitution is devoid of any legal justification,” he said.

Mr. Rio said the requirement for 33% reservation for women in the ULBs was embedded in the Constitution of India under the 74th Amendment, and unlike the 73rd Amendment dealing with women’s reservation in rural local bodies, there was no exemption for Nagaland or any of the other northeastern States.


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 12:45:24 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nagaland-cm-neiphiu-rio-allays-fears-over-riin/article35990896.ece