Post Mortem

NH cautions ‘hasty implementation of RIIN’

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/19/2021 1:30:50 PM IST

 In view of the demands made by organisations for implementation of Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) with datelines, the Naga Hoho is constrained to issue this cautionary note that the issue of RIIN should be handled with utmost care as it could have unforeseen and dangerous implications for the Nagas as a people.

The professed objective of RIIN is to prevent outsiders from obtaining fake indigenous certificates for seeking jobs and benefits of government schemes. Accordingly, the Government of Nagaland constituted the RIIN Committee headed by Banuo Z. Jamir (Retd. IAS) to determine: (a) Eligibility criteria to be an indigenous inhabitant; (b) Authority to authenticate claims of being indigenous; (c) Place of registration as indigenous inhabitant; (d) Basis of claims of being indigenous; and (e) Nature of documents that will be acceptable as proof of being indigenous. While the Naga Hoho is not in a position to comment on the merits or demerits as it is not privy to the committee’s report, the Hoho is genuinely apprehensive of the negative ramifications if certain organisations are allowed to piggy back on it to advance their vested interests as enunciated below:

1. The press statements from the advocates of RIIN clearly indicate that the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873 and RIIN are synonymous and therefore there cannot be a different date and time for its implementation which should be strictly adhered to as December 1, 1963. They have also categorically stated that only indigenous people can live, work and earn in Inner Line Pass (ILP) areas of Nagaland. Further, they have stated that non-indigenous Nagas from other states cannot be indigenous nor be given Schedule Tribe (ST) status in Nagaland and they are to be barred from buying land and property in the state as per Nagaland Land and Revenue (Amendment) Act, 1978. In sum, their demand is that ILP should be subjected to the status of inhabitants’ categories as defined by RIIN.

2. While the Naga Hoho fully agrees that the demand for extension of ILP to Dimapur and the concerns about the influx of illegal immigrants is a genuine cause, the conflation of RIIN and ILP and its blanket application by reducing ‘indigeneity’ to ‘permanent settlement’ in Nagaland prior to December 1, 1963 will ripe the Nagas off with dreadful consequences. There are Naga tribes straddling across the state boundaries in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh in India and also in Burma as indigenous people to their ancestral homeland with a legitimate claim to their right to self-determination as a people. It is a fact that there are thousands of Nagas who have bought lands, built houses and settled down in Nagaland for several decades. In the absence of records such as land pattas, house taxes paid or enrolment in electoral rolls prior to December 1, 1963 as per the 1977 notification, many procedural anomalies will crop up even within the so called “pure Nagas of Nagaland”. As for the Non-indigenous Nagas, this will mean that they will be treated as “illegal immigrants” and their lands and properties will be considered as illegal and confiscated. The idea of the Nagas as a people to live together and their aspiration to live with self-determination will be irreparably damaged.

It seems the entangling of ILP and RIIN as synonymous is a gambit to throw a spanner in the Nagas’ aspiration for integration of Naga ancestral homeland by sowing seeds of division between Nagas of different states so as to leverage Nagaland as a legitimate political entity in the best interest of the so called Pure Indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.

The RIIN can turn out to be the Chanakyaish master stroke of the hawkish strategists, a Trojan horse to ripe the Nagas off to the hilt from within and without. RIIN is just like the swirling tail of the predatory snake to attract and fools its prey and the ILP is like the head of the snake with its full fangs to incapacitate the Nagas as preys. RIIN imposed on the Nagas by the Nagas themselves is going to be the perfect stratagem to erect the Berlin wall of the Nagas.

Communication Cell,

Naga Hoho


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