Other States

Nagaland forms panel on listing indigenous inhabitants

The Nagaland government has decided to form a joint consultative committee (JCC) involving all traditional tribal bodies and, civil society organisations for taking an exercise to register the State’s indigenous inhabitants.

The decision was taken at a meeting the government had organised on Friday with leaders of the community-based and social organisations as well as political parties in State capital Kohima on the issue of preparing the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN).

In July 2019, the Nagaland government launched the RIIN, seen as a variant of Assam’s National Register of Citizens that excluded 19.06 lakh people out of about 3.3 crore applicants. The exercise was put on hold after some civil society and extremist groups opposed its stated objective of preventing outsiders from obtaining fake indigenous certificates for seeking jobs and benefits of government schemes.

December 1, 1963 — the day Nagaland attained Statehood — was the cut-off date for determining the “permanent residents” of the State. Apart from non-Nagas, the “outsiders” implied Nagas living in areas beyond the boundaries of Nagaland could be left out of the RIIN.

“The JCC will be headed by Home Commissioner Abhijit Sinha and include members from the Central Nagaland Tribes’ Council, Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation and the Tenyemie People’s Organisation. We have kept open the option of co-opting members from organisations such as Nagaland Garo Tribal Council and Kuki Inpi Nagaland,” Mmhonlumo Kikon, the adviser to the State government, said.

The participants of the meeting agreed to take the RIIN forward but insisted on the government releasing an almost-two-year-old report before the exercise is undertaken. A commission on the RIIN, headed by retired Chief Secretary Banuo Z. Jamir, was formed on July 27, 2019, to examine all aspects of the proposed exercise.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said the State had the legitimate right to formulate its own laws and regulations for the interest and protection of its citizens. “But we cannot harass the citizens of any other part of India while working on the RIIN,” he said.

The Chief Minister appreciated Opposition leader T.R. Zeliang of the Naga People’s Front for “leaving aside differences” to pursue the RIIN in coordination with the government.

“We are with the government on Naga political issues,” Mr. Zeliang said.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 2:14:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/nagaland-forms-panel-on-listing-indigenous-inhabitants/article34343330.ece

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