Dr. Jamir expounds on handling RIIN

Dr. Jamir expounds on handling RIIN
Dr. S.C Jamir (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, OCT 26 (NPN) | Publish Date: 10/26/2019 11:42:10 AM IST

Against the backdrop of the contentious issue of preparation of Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) and at a time when the Naga political issue was expected to see an early resolution, former governor and also former chief minister of Nagaland, Dr. S.C. Jamir has categorically pointed out that Nagas of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Myanmar are not indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland state.

Dr. Jamir, who is a surviving member of the Naga People’s Convention (NPC) that signed the historic 16-point agreement, made this remark while addressing the launch of Nagaland Indigenous People’s Forum (NIPF) Saturday at the Auditorium of Don Bosco School, Dimapur.

“We have Nagas in Manipur, Arunachal, Manipur and Burma but they are indigenous of their respective states and country. Just because they are Nagas, they can’t claim to be indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland,” said Dr. Jamir. 

He illustrated his point by citing the example of Chinese people inhabiting in different parts of the world. Dr. Jamir said the mainland China does not claim that all of them should be indigenous inhabitants of China.

“Nagas of Nagaland should not be confused, nor intimidated by any elements or vested interest on this vital issue,” said Dr. Jamir.

The veteran Naga political said the issue of identifying indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland should be approached dispassionately and with political foresight as it would affect the lives of the inhabitants of Nagaland, now and in future.

The former five-time chief minister of Nagaland who also served as governor of several states for 14 years, said that while deliberating on the subject, a broader view should be maintained without any prejudice – be it communal, tribal or even religious.

“The issue of indigenous is both emotive and sensitive and yet our deliberations should not be emotional nor sensational,” said Dr. Jamir. He pointed out that at present Nagaland state covered a little over 16,000 sq km with about two million population and by 2050 Nagaland is projected to have about five million population.

“We must know that space available at present is not sufficient for the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland and the population will keep increasing whereas the area shall remain the same and job opportunities will be very limited if we go at the present trend and rate,” cautioned Dr. Jamir. 

The former governor of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Odisha then said that when the state was over burdened, nothing should be done to overload the state by bringing “extra luggage from outside”.

Dr. Jamir said survival of people of Nagaland, especially the younger generation, would be determined by the decisions of the present leadership of the Nagas on the indigenous issue.

In his message to indigenous inhabitants of north-east region, Dr. Jamir said with India’s ‘Act East Policy’ (AEP) the region would be exposed to influx from South East Asian countries. As the corridor of the mainland country, he said the region should be prepared for “crisscrossing of civilisation and invasion of tremendous economic forces”. 

Dr. Jamir cautioned that not a single state of the region could singularly face this invasion and asked the entire region to come together and be prepared by developing themselves and elevating their present education system.

“Unless we develop, unless we improve the kind of education that we have to match the worst time we will be second class citizens in our own land”, warned Dr. Jamir. Apart from focusing on customary and traditional practices, he said the region should talk about the modern culture which can match the contemporary culture of the world and make the indigenous people indispensible.

He said the objective of North East Indigenous People Forum (NEIPF) should not be only talk about the past but be focused on the future so that the indigenous could grow along with the rest of the country and world.

He said the indigenous people of north east should imbibe the spirit of Israelites that is – will to survive, will to excel and will to dominate in all activities. 

“If we imbibe this kind of spirit then there is no reason why indigenous people should worry about their existence or survival,” said Dr. Jamir.

 Guest of honour of the programme, chief convenor of NEIPF, Anup Chetia, called for unity of indigenous people of north east region to fight against the “infiltrators”.

Chetia said the identity of the indigenous people of region was at threat due to the influx of “outsiders” from the mainland country and Bangladesh.

He also warned the people about the contentious Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 saying that if the Bill was passed than “Hindu migrants would settle in our land”.

Chetia said the forum’s objective was to fight for the indigenous people of the north east region so as to protect their culture, identity and language.

Another speaker, Khekiye Sema drew similarity between the “Red Indians” (Native Americans) – the indigenous people of the United States – to that of Nagas of Nagaland.

As similar to western civilisation which took over the indigenous culture of Native Americans, Khekiye said Nagas have lost the oral history which was passed down by their ancestors from generation to generation until the Christianity and the written script came into being.

“We call ourselves the indigenous people but we are half a man compared to our ancestors in every good quality that they had as non Christians. We, as Christians, do not even measure up to half of their good value system they live by. I am afraid we people are lost people”, said Khekiye.

Deliberating on Article 371 (A), Khekiye lauded Dr.S.C Jamir and his generation of Nagas of being visionary. 

Khekiye said everybody takes a “pot-shot” at 16-point agreement but reminded that Article 371 (A) is the consequent result of the agreement and constitutionally protects the Nagas of Nagaland.

“This is the elementary protection that the indigenous people would want to ensure that our future cannot be contaminated by other kind of civilization”, said Khekiye.

However, he lamented that the Nagas have not been able to utilise the Article for their benefit saying, “Government of India has given us a dao (machete) so that we can clear our path to the future instead we are using that dao to cut our own limbs.”

Khekiye also spoke on the ongoing Naga Peace Process and asserted that Nagas must be given time to understand the ongoing negotiations before the final agreement.

 “We want to know exact demands of the Naga Political Groups. Issue such as this deals with your future and the future of your children and nobody can decide that for us. We need to know what the future is being craved out for us”, said Khekiye.

The launching programme began with an invocation by Dimapur Baptist Pastor Fellowship president, Rev. Tenga Seb, welcome address by NIPF convenor, advocate P Pius Lotha and launching of NIPF by the guest of honour and speakers.

Highlights of the programme include cultural presentation and dances from Sumi, Ao, Chakhesang and Kachari cultural troupes and special song by Discipleship Bible College choir.

The programme concluded with word of gratitude from NEIPF executive member, Dr. T Lima Jamir and benediction by Dimapur Women Baptist Church Fellowship president, Nukshila Aying Doulo. 


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