Neiphiu Rio.
Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio (File image)

The Nagaland Senior Citizens Association (NSCA) cautioned Neiphiu Rio led Nagaland government on implementation of the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) in the state.

Association president KK Sema and general secretary Medolselhu Keretse in a statement on Sunday, described the state government notification of June 29 for preparation of RIIN as naïve in its approach to arrest the objective of preventing issuance of fake indigenous inhabitant certificates.

According to the association, the “possible abusive outcome” of implementation of the exercise could be detrimental to the original sons of the soil unless certain operational benchmarks are first strictly laid down with absolute clarity.

It asked for clarification on the government order on the matter of extensive survey at the village and urban ward level and the deputy commissioners to adjudicate claims and objections at the later stage.

The association sought to place on record that the overwhelming majority of original Naga inhabitants of Nagaland do not constitute to be a real threat factor. Instead, it said, the RIIN exercise should prioritise the minority sector of non-Nagas and “other Nagas who settled in Nagaland before December 1, 1963 and not unnecessarily compound the problems by plunging the whole state into a mega exercise with the inclusion of the less questionable indigenous majority population through this cumbersome scrutiny.

The association argued that the RIIN is at variance with an existing order to deal with the subject.

It said the department of personnel and administrative reforms (administrative reform branch) vide its notification on April 28, 1977 officially laid down the regulatory criteria that in order to qualify as an indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland for the purpose of employment, a person should have settled permanently in Nagaland prior to December 1, 1963.

The association said the criteria for determining a person to have had a permanent settlement in the state prior to December 1, 1963 is that his/her name or names of parents or legitimate guardians, in case the person was then a minor, should have been entered in the electoral roll published on December 5, 1963 or the person or his/her parents or legitimate guardian should have been paying house tax prior to December 1, 1963 or the person or his/her parents or legitimate guardian should have acquired property and land patta prior to December 1, 1963.

It was further decided that only the certificates issued by a deputy commissioner or an additional deputy commissioner would be accepted, the association said.

The April 28, 1977 notification, according to the NSCA, is still the standard functional norm of the government sans questionable motivation against the interest of the real indigenous Naga inhabitants of Nagaland.

It said this notification has neither been superseded nor nullified and is still relevant as a rational and fair benchmark for other Nagas from elsewhere and non-Nagas to qualify as indigenous inhabitants, the association said.

“Therefore, these criteria must strictly remain as the guiding principle in the implementation of RIIN,” it added.

The association also questioned the “tearing hurry” to implement the RIIN over the general populace at a time when the state cabinet has already decided to extend inner-line permit coverage to Dimapur.

The government instead should work on a framework to tackle the “colossal complexities” concerning the non-local population that have settled in Nagaland after December 1, 1963, it added.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com

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