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Fri, 20 Sep 2019

Northeast Today

RIIN: A quest for finding aboriginals

RIIN: A quest for finding aboriginals
September 03
12:53 2019

 To protect the identity of its indigenous Nagas, and to prohibit a forged certificate that validates citizens as aboriginals of the state, the Government of Nagaland made its milestone decision to prepare a list of all the indigenous people residing in the state. Dipanti Lahon reports. The Milestone Decision Nagaland is a home to diverse cultures and is inhabited by 18 tribes that constitute approximately 89% to its total population which is about 1.9 million according to 2011 census. The state has been a witness of numerous socio-political issues on its soil since time immemorial however, the recent decades has seen rapid rise in a few of the issues including unemployment, insurgency etc. One such prominent issue of the “land of festivals” has been inflow of illegal immigrants from the bordering countries. In order to tackle the issue of illegal immigrants and to prevent issuance of fake indigenous inhabitant certificate in the state of Nagaland, on 29th June 2019, the State government has issued a notification to set up the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants Certificates of Nagaland (RIIN). The Process The notification that was issued by Nagaland’s Chief Secretary Temjen Toy states that the Government of Nagaland has decided to set up a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) with the aim of preventing fake indigenous inhabitants’ certificates. The RIIN will be the master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state. The preparation of the list has started from July 10th, and according to the notification issued by Home Commissioner R Ramakrishnan, the whole process will be completed within 60 days. The process of preparing the list is driven by “an extensive survey”. The survey involves official records of indigenous residents from rural and urban wards and it is spearheaded by the district administration. Within a week of issuance of the government notification, Nagaland’s every district saw the formation of designated teams of surveyors, these teams were then sent across each village and ward. The surveyors are assigned to record each family’s original residence, current residence as well as the concerned Aadhaar numbers. These designated teams of the surveyors comprising Sub-Divisional Officers (SDO), Block Development Officers (BDO), Headmasters and other nominated members, are responsible for making the list of indigenous inhabitants in the state. The Outcome: According to reports, a provisional list will be published in all villages, wards and on government websites by September 11, 2019. By 30th October all claims and objections will be entertained. Anyone who’s excluded on the list but belongs on the RIIN can submit a claim, while those who think someone has been wrongly included in the list can file an objection. The matter will then be verified by the Home Commissioner and necessary actions will be taken for updating the RIIN if needed. Once the final list is out, no fresh indigenous inhabitant certificates will be issued except to newborn babies born to the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland. All indigenous inhabitants of the state listed on RIIN would be issued a bar-coded and numbered Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate. The process will link RIIN to the Inner Line Permit (ILP). The ILP is a travel document issued by the government of India to allow a ‘domestic tourist’ to enter Nagaland, and is valid for 30 days. Enlisted Conditions: To get included in the master list of indigenous Nagas, a person should fulfill any of the three conditions that have been listed. First off, he or she should have been settled permanently in Nagaland prior to 1st December 1963. The second condition states that his or her parents or legitimate guardians must be house tax payers prior to the cut-off date. The third and the last condition listed is that the applicant’s parents or legitimate guardians have had acquired property and a land certificate prior to this cut-off date. Arguments and Complexities: Although the decision has been accepted by many social groups and by the general public of the state there are still a few arguments that RIIN had been facing since its inception. Linking RIIN to ILP is one issue that concerns the highly concentrated commercial population of the Dimapur district as these people are mostly migrated from different states of India. The conditions listed of being registered on RIIN have perturbed the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah). The insurgent group that is on peace talks with the government has opposed the compilation of RIIN asserting that “all Nagas, wherever they are, are indigenous in their land by virtue of their common history”. One of the biggest issues among the citizens is that the compilation of RIIN with this cut-off date might lead to exclusion of all Naga people who have migrated to the State from the neighboring States or elsewhere in India. Conclusion: This master list of indigenous inhabitants is definitely a stern measure to curb the issue of illegal immigrants. The leap that has been made by the Nagaland Government of prohibiting issuance of fake indigenous certificate is without a doubt a chain breaker. However, the general public of the state are only hoping that the process should remain uncorrupted and unbiased unlike the NRC issues of Assam. The indigenous Nagas, all of those, who deserve to be on the list, should secure their ground without dispute, that’s the hope Nagaland keeps at this hour.

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