Post Mortem

The Indispensability of RIIN

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/27/2021 12:42:24 PM IST

 It is all because of the will of the Father God that the Nagas of Nagaland had to inhabit the land called Nagaland. Nothing had ever happened without the will of God as found in Acts 17:26 “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” NIV.  Therefore, the 16-Points Memorandum of 1960 and the subsequent creation of the State of Nagaland as the 16th State in the Union of India with the incorporation of the Art 371(A) in the Constitution of India were so definitely according to the will of God. Thus,  how and what had to happen to the Nagas of Nagaland, had happened at the right time by the will of God no matter how busybodies are fond of critically analyzing it from time to time.

The State of Nagaland was thus created for the indigenously aboriginal inhabitant Nagas of Nagaland and the other indigenous inhabitants of others who had been in the territory prior to the creation of the Statehood in 1963.  It was indeed a miracle that the Art 371(A) was enacted by Parliament for the ownership of the indigenous Nagas of Nagaland over the land and its resources, for protection and preservation of religion, language, custom, tradition and culture of the citizens of Nagaland pertaining to which no act of Parliament will have overriding power notwithstanding Parliament being the supreme law making authority of India.

Nevertheless, the State of Nagaland and its successive Governments had never taken any initiatives for enumeration of the bona fide inhabitants of Nagaland for registration and record. Till today, even after 58 years of its existence, the Govt. of Nagaland does not have a single proper record on who is and who is not her aboriginal citizen. The Govt. has only the decadal census figures which are inclusive of Tom, Dick and Harry, and at times those figures are erroneously prepared. 

In the event of a sovereign nation having no proper and accurate record on the bona fide citizenship of her subjects, that nation becomes everyone’s country. In other words, a sovereign/Independent nation remaining ignorant of who are and who are not her bona fide citizens tantamount to no man’s nation as any stranger can stake claim to be a citizen of that nation. Such a nation’s sovereignty does not necessarily become absolute.  There is no such sovereign nation on earth that remains casual about her citizenship. If a recognized village in Nagaland is bereft of its bona fide citizenship records, that very village becomes to be no man’s village as any outsider or foreigner can stake claim himself /herself to be a bona fide citizen of that village. Similarly, so long as the State of Nagaland remains obscure about who is and who is not her aboriginal citizen, Nagaland remains to be everybody’s State. In other words, Nagaland remains to be no man’s land but everyone’s land.

Whereas, the State of Nagaland has its definite territory of its own of 16,579 sq. km when it became a State in the Union of India. Whereas, Nagaland has its indigenous inhabitants who are the aboriginal land owners inhabiting the State of Nagaland much before the creation of Nagaland as a State in India. Whereas the State of Nagaland and its resources, both beneath and above the surface of the land, belonged to the indigenous Nagas of Nagaland and that any benefit accrues out of it belongs to the bona fide inhabitants alone. Whereas, the indigenous inhabitants, the aboriginal inhabitants, of Nagaland have its inherited culture, tradition, languages, religion and customary practices which are to be preserved and protected from its possible dilution and destruction in due course of time. Thus, to protect and preserve whatever in Nagaland is naturally and historically belonged to the aboriginal inhabitants, the GoI had provided the Special Protective Article at 371(A) in the Constitution of India.

Whatever measure is undertaken by the State Govt. of Nagaland for the purpose of protecting the basic rights and interests of the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland within the parameters of Art 371(A) is therefore legitimate under this article. Accordingly, the State Govt. of Nagaland enacted a law pertaining to the criteria by which who is and who is not an indigenous  inhabitant of Nagaland vide No.AR-8/8/76 Dated, Kohima, the 28th April, 1977, the Prohibition of land acquisition by non-indigenous citizens of Nagaland  by the Nagaland Land and Revenue Regulation (Amendment Act), 1978 vide Nagaland Act No. 8 of 1978 and then bringing the District of Dimapur under the enforcement of Inner Line Permit (ILP) vide No.CON-3/PAP/65/10 Dated, Kohima, the 9th December, 2019 were all done for self protection and none of these was detrimental to anyone or to any community from any other State.

Similarly, the PDA Govt. had taken the right decision to undertake Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of the State of Nagaland (RIIN), and for which a Commission headed by Mrs. Banuo Z. Jamir, IAS (Rtd) was constituted and who submitted the Commission’s report which is now lying with the Govt. of Nagaland. This exercise should have been done by any of the previous Governments and yet none bothered about it till the present PDA Govt. decided to undertake it resolutely is highly appreciable. In fact, Nagaland is behind time to streamline its genuine citizens from those of the non-indigenous citizens, a priority being ignored for decades. For the survival of the indigenous inhabitants, the bona fide landowners, of Nagaland, RIIN is indeed indispensable. Under any circumstances, RIIN has to be conducted, and the sooner the better. The future of the next generations of the Nagas of Nagaland can be protected only when the State Govt. prepares the unadulterated record on who are and who are not the owners of Nagaland.

Whereas, to ignore the conduct of RIIN is definitely detrimental to the interest of the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland for the reason that such neglect keeps Nagaland ownerless. In other words, keeping Nagaland without RIIN makes Nagaland to be the common property of both the indigenous and the non-indigenous citizens including those people from outside Nagaland who will definitely flood our small State sooner than later. Thus, not conducting RIIN is crime against the posterity and having RIIN is doing justice to the deserving inhabitants. Whereas, implementing RIIN is the bounding basic responsibility of the existing State Govt. and the failure is betrayal to the indigenous citizens of Nagaland.

Whereas, the citizenship of the State of Nagaland has been in disappointing dismal. The ground realities are that, over the years, the unbridled civil administration has been issuing limitless number of Temporary Residential Certificates (TRC), Permanent Residential Certificates and Indigenous Certificates to anyone who wanted it. Whereas, no competent authority and no District Administration had ever maintained any record on to how many of such vital documents were issued. Because of the casualness and the irresponsibility of the administration, the citizenship in Nagaland has been in shambles. As a matter of fact, unrecorded number of non-citizens of Nagaland is in possession of Nagaland’s Indigenous certificates. The unrecorded number of people from mainland India are in possession of the vital Nagaland’s Indigenous Certificate itself is a mockery of the system of issuance of such document rampantly even through private syndicates.

Should the Indigenous Inhabitants, particularly the aboriginal Nagas of Nagaland, remain silent spectators to the prevailing system being in haywire? Are we to rely on hired labourers from mainland to replenish the system? Is there anyone scare of those who opposed the RIIN exercise? Is there anyone having wrong perception that urging the State Govt. to expedite the implementation of RIIN to be a contradiction to PDA with political motive? Is not RIIN the noble plan of PDA Govt. for common interest requiring unconditional support of all the indigenous citizens of Nagaland? Was not Nagaland created to give due benefit to its bona fide citizens? When the facilities and opportunities accrued out of the State of Nagaland are denied to the genuine citizens of Nagaland due to undue interference and overindulgence of non-genuine citizens, the outsiders, can the Nagas of Nagaland in particular get any of such opportunity or facility from Govt. of Assam or Manipur or Arunachal? How long the prevailing system of Nagaland remaining to bear the responsibility of breastfeeding people belonging to other States? How long Nagaland allows itself to be over-milked by exploiters? How long the Nagas of Nagaland in particular remain obsequious as secondary citizens in our own land?

Whereas, when a better opportunity is expected to come to protect and defend Nagaland? What better option or mechanism is considered better and more democratic and more legitimate to be adopted for safeguarding Nagaland than RIIN? Should there be any sensible elected Member amongst 60, such representative is expected to rise and become vocal for RIIN implementation. If at all PDA stands for Nagaland, why comes the lethargy and hesitation to implement the RIIN? 

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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