Post Mortem

RIIN: A blessing or a curse

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/8/2019 12:35:30 PM IST

 Just as any other human race in the world, the Nagas of Nagaland are naturally installed to inhabit the given area of land of about 16,579 square kilometres according to the will of the Living God as found in Acts 17:26. And just any other race having ownership over the land and its resources they inhabit, the Nagas of Nagaland are the sole owners of the land and its resources in Nagaland as provided in the Art 371(A) of the Constitution of India. The erstwhile British-India provided the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation(BEFR) of 1873 (ILP) for the protection of the indigenous Nagas of Nagaland from undue interferences from non-indigenous people from outside, and the same was incorporated under the Constitution of India when Nagaland was created as a State on 1.12.1963. This ILP was recently challenged by one BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhya through PIL in the Supreme Court recently, and yet, the Supreme Court dismissed the PIL with a single struck implying that this protective law for Nagaland cannot be challenged. 

Although the legal ownership of the indigenous Nagas over the State of Nagaland can never be challenged by anyone, Nagaland is never free from threats of subjugating the indigenous Nagas of Nagaland to shreds of minority and secondary citizens in Nagaland by people from outside Nagaland through legal or illegal migration. This very threat is no more a speculation but the subjugation has been in active process for the last few decades. At this rate, Nagaland is becoming the second Tripura in NE India sooner than one apprehends. The ground realities are that be it business, our economy is practically not controlled by the indigenous Nagas, rather the indigenous Nagas are at the mercies of outsiders. Politically the indigenous Nagas become malleable to be made dancers at the whims of outsiders. Socially the indigenous Nagas in Nagaland allowed ourselves to be made as second fiddles and pawns in the hand of outsiders. The complacencies of the indigenous Nagas are the grounds kept ready for the legal and illegal migrants to overwhelm and control us leaving nothing for the future of our posterity. 

Whereas, when the indigenous Nagas of Nagaland are boastfully harping that we are immune from being overpowered by those undeserved migrants because of Art 371(A) and BEFR of 1873. Whereas, how these two protective constitutional provisions remain vibrant and resist the undue aggressions of those outsiders when the indigenous Nagas themselves are the ones to be the agents of those aggressors? How outsiders can be expected to respect our protective laws when we, the sons of the soil, are primarily responsible for breaching and undermining our own laws?

Having observed that the situational tide is against the Nagas of Nagaland, the NTC initiated for the formation of the Joint Co-ordination Committee on Ban of Illegal immigrant (JCCBII), and accordingly, the JCCBII demanded the enforcement of ILP across the State of Nagaland including Dimapur District. In positive response, the Govt. of Nagaland constituted the Committee on ILP headed by Mr. Abhishek Sinha, IAS which submitted its recommendations. Meanwhile, the Govt. of Nagaland has decided to implement the recommendations of the Committee on ILP. In pursuance of its decision, the Govt. of Nagaland has just issued Notification vide No.CON-3/PAP/65/10 dated, Kohima, the 29th June, 2019. By this order, the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) is going to be conducted soon. The positive actions of the Govt. of Nagaland is highly appreciated. 

As I understand the objective of RIIN, it aims to streamline the categories of the citizens of the State of Nagaland which is very imperative. The existing mess of who is and who is not an indigenous citizen, who is a tribal and who is not and who is and who is not a domicile does not benefit anyone or any community. In the midst of the prevailing haywire, there are chances of discriminating someone who does not deserve to be treated so or who is not supposed to be treated at par with the bona fide citizens. Beside, so much rooms are kept for the illegal people to take full advantage on the situation with manoeuvring at the expense of the genuine citizens of Nagaland. Although I am yet to come across the guidelines of the Govt. as to how categorical enumerations would be carried out, I believe the following segmental streamlining will be done. Firstly, the aboriginal Nagas of Nagaland followed by the indigenous non-Naga tribes, the indigenous non-tribal Nepalese and the general non-Naga indigenous inhabitants who had been our citizens prior to the cut-off year.    

Whereas, as and when the streamlining in the enumeration is done, the State of Nagaland will have proper record on the categories of who are the aboriginal Nagas of Nagaland, who are the other tribal non-Naga indigenous citizens and who are the non-Naga indigenous citizens of Nagaland. With the requisite exercises under RIIN, the much self destructive acts of Village authorities and administrative officers in issuing Permanent Residential Certificate (PRC), Temporary Residential Certificate(TRC), Indigenous Certificate, Death/Birth Certificate and other work Permit which are  mostly on mercantile in nature will be largely mitigated.  Therefore, what the Govt. of Nagaland has decided to do with RIIN is the collective responsibility of the bona fide citizens of Nagaland to cooperate and support as this exercise is in the interest of everyone. 

Nonetheless, when we understand the practical enumeration, it is very challenging. The notified 7 member Team of Enumerators are BDO/UDO, Head Master of Govt. High School, 2 GBs to be nominated by DC, 2 Teachers to be nominated by DEO and commanded by SDO(C) or EAC. This very Team will either build or destroy the future of Nagaland. If the members of the Team become irresponsible, greedy and abuse the delegated power, they will bring curse upon our society. In other words, those citizens who landed in Nagaland after the set dateline, may go to any extend to bribe the enumerators for registration as bona fide citizens. Though I have no intention to indict anyone of the officers who remained honest in the fear of God, we alI know how selfish and fragile are many of our Naga officers today. We have very limited number of honest and God fearing officers in Nagaland today. Any Naga officer can commercialize their responsibility for selfish gain by manipulations in the process of enumeration. The dishonest and greedy enumerators, when tempted with wads of currency notes, will easily forget the future of his/her children and surrender to the whims of those who try to purchase citizenship. In a District, how many dependable officers a DC can locate to man the Team, how many honest BDOs/UDOs can be picked up for the job is going to be a tough selection. Beside the integrity of the officers, how sincere and determine the nominated Team leaders will drive the Team to complete the given assignment successfully and transparently on time is another credential. 

In the event of a Team commercializing its position, wrong entries will be entertained which will ultimately invite disputes and by the spark of which, unwanted and ugly tussles will erupt between sections of our people. Thus, the enumerators will be the trouble shooters and they can become responsible for inviting curse upon our people permanently for the reason that whoever, non-indigenous citizen, is allowed to be registered under RIIN, we will not be able to challenge his/her entity including the descendants in the court of law hereafter. The enumerators can become responsible for the non-citizens of Nagaland to subdue the indigenous citizens to the second class people in their own land in near future. If the exercise is at all allowed to be haphazard, it will definitely be self-destruction and therefore the RIIN can become a curse on ourselves. 

Whereas, when the Teams for the enumeration are determined, focussed, honest to the indigenous people of Nagaland and remain transparent in its dealing with the task, they are going to deliver Nagaland from the menace of subjugation. If the enumerators have sense of patriotism and of fear of God nothing of distraction can hamper the exercise. The proper and successful conduct of enumeration will be the catalyst for our future activities of the State Govt. and for the NGOs too. In absence of the proper enumerated figures of the indigenous citizens of Nagaland, several authorities beginning with the Village authorities and above have been committing errors in matters of issuance of local certificates as stated above which are detrimental to ourselves. 

The RIIN has given the opportunity to the villages and the tribes in Nagaland to cleanse your population from contamination, to the towns to put your houses in order so as to prevent your domains becoming the breeding centres of unwanted population. Not only the Govt. of Nagaland but including the tribal bodies, the concerned civil organisations and the villages must become serious and handle the enumeration with dedication. 

Not the least is the non-Naga indigenous tribes and the other non-Naga indigenous citizens must not try to manipulate in the process of enumeration for the sake of bon fide citizens of the category. Any play of unfair means will definitely fetch boomerang. 

Z. Lohe

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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