Memebers of civil society organisations at the rally in Dimapur on Friday. Photo Bhadra Gogoi

Apex tribal bodies and civil society organisations, under the aegis of the Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants (JCPI), on Friday took out a silent rally in Dimapur to demand immediate implementation of the Register of Indigenous Citizens of Nagaland (RIIN) exercise in Nagaland and the ILP regime in Dimapur district.

The rally which began at DC Court junction culminated at the Dimapur deputy commissioner’s office.

A representation was submitted to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio through the deputy commissioner after the rally.

A similar rally on the issue was also held in Kohima today.

The rallysts wearing traditional attire carried placards that read “Do not sell my birthright”, “Protect indigenous people of Nagaland”, “One cut-off year 01/12/1963”, “Digitalize indigenous certificate”, “Do not trample our future” etc.

Drawing the attention of the chief minister, the organisations demanded that the State government immediately act on the Banuo Commission report on RIIN and make necessary law to implement the RIIN exercise within March 31, 2021 with December 1, 1963, as the cut-off date and year by passing an ordinance in the State Assembly.

The JCPI said the exercise is expected to render clear-cut identification of the residents of the State for maintaining their identity, culture and privileges as enshrined in the Constitution under Article 371 (A).

“Once RIIN classification is completed and specific laws are legislated, full protection and privileges will reach the deserving stakeholders,” the representation stated.

According to the JCPI, the indigenous citizens will lose their birthright forever and the aboriginals will be reduced to secondary citizens in their own land without the RIIN.

The representation said this very threat is no more an apprehension but an “active process” seen in the few decades making Nagaland the next victim in North East India after Tripura. Therefore, the future security of Nagaland is exposed to all potential disadvantages and self-destruction, it pointed out.

The JCPI reminded the State government that it was with the State of Nagaland Act, 1962, the statehood was granted to Nagaland on December 1, 1963, and that it was notified via the government notification AR-8/8/76 on April 28, 1977, that the cut-off date and year to determine the indigenous citizens of the State shall be December 1, 1963.

It said constitutionally, Nagaland was delegated with the power to enforce the physically implementation of BEFR Act, 1873, in the entire administrative jurisdiction of the State. However, Dimapur was brought under the purview of the Act through a notification on December 9, 2019, only.

The JCPI said the serious flaw in the notification was that the base year to determine the indigenous citizens for Dimapur was fixed as November 21, 1979, on the ground that Dimapur was constituted as tribal belt vide Land Revenue Department notification No. LR/2-118/76.

The JCPI said this is totally unacceptable as there cannot be two cut-off years to determine the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland which is a tribal state since its formation.

The organisations demanded enforcement of BEFR, 1873/ILP and RIIN and other protective laws with a comprehensive digitalized infrastructure, mechanism and standard operating procedure with a round-the-clock monitoring cell under the Home department.

Bhadra Gogoi

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