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Nagaland forms panel on listing indigenous inhabitants

Context:

The Nagaland government has decided to form a joint consultative committee (JCC) involving all traditional tribal bodies and, civil society organisations for taking an exercise to register the State’s indigenous inhabitants.

Recently, an apex body of Naga tribes, Naga Hoho had cautioned the Nagaland Government with respect to preparation of the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), seen as a variant of Assam’s National Register of Citizens.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Governance and Government Policies, Issues Arising Out of Design & Implementation of Policies, Issues Related to Population)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN)?
  2. Who are the Nagas?
  3. Concern of the Nagas

What is the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN)?

  • The Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) is a register that aims to prepare a master list of all indigenous peoples and check the issuance of fake indigenous inhabitant certificates.
  • The RIIN exercise was launched in 2019 with the objective of preventing outsiders from obtaining fake indigenous certificates for seeking jobs and benefits of government schemes, however, the exercise was suspended following protests from community-based and extremist organizations. Since then, the Nagaland government has been trying to revive the RIIN exercise.
  • The RIIN will be prepared after an extensive survey with the help of a village-wise and ward-wise list of indigenous inhabitants based on official records.
  • No fresh indigenous inhabitant certificate will be issued after the RIIN is completed except for children born to the State’s indigenous inhabitants who will be issued indigenous certificates along with birth certificates.
  • The RIIN will also be integrated with the online system for Inner-Line Permit – ILP (the ILP is a temporary document that non-inhabitants are required to possess for entry into and travel in Nagaland).
  • The entire exercise will be monitored by the Commissioner of Nagaland. In addition, the state government will designate nodal officers of the rank of a Secretary to the state government.

Who are the Nagas?

  • The Nagas are not a single tribe, but an ethnic community, belonging to Indo-Mongoloid Family, that comprises several tribes who live in the state of Nagaland and its neighbourhood. There are also Naga groups in Myanmar.
  • There are nineteen major Naga tribes, namely, Aos, Angamis, Changs, Chakesang, Kabuis, Kacharis, Khain-Mangas, Konyaks, Kukis, Lothas (Lothas), Maos, Mikirs, Phoms, Rengmas, Sangtams, Semas, Tankhuls, Yamchumgar and Zeeliang.

Concern of the Nagas

  • If RIIN implemented the identification process with 1st December, 1963 (the day Nagaland attained statehood) as the cut-off date for determining the permanent residents of the State, it is likely to exclude Nagas who have come from beyond the boundaries of Nagaland.
  • Naga tribes living in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh in India and in Myanmar have a legitimate claim to their ancestral homeland.
  • 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 1st December, 1963 many procedural anomalies will crop up even within the so-called pure Nagas of Nagaland.
  • The non-indigenous Nagas could be treated as “illegal immigrants” and their lands and property confiscated. The idea of the Nagas as a people to live together and their aspiration to live with self-determination will be irreparably damaged.

-Source: The Hindu

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December 2022
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