Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio said the intent of the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) is to protect the legal Indian citizens and not to harass them.
Allaying fears among certain sections of people in the state over the exercise, Rio asserted that the register would give protection to the genuine people and communities who are permanent settlers in the state.
He was speaking at the second consultative meeting called by the state government on the exercise for creation of the register with various no-Naga tribal bodies/stakeholders at Rhododendron Hall in Chumukedima police complex late Saturday evening, an official release said on Sunday.
Rio said this is for the first time that the state government and the non-Naga community have come together to discuss the register.
He expressed gratitude to the representatives of various communities for attending and sharing their views in the meeting.
Rio explained that the exercise for creation of the register has been realised as a proper system is required for protection and security of the legal citizens.
He said unless a system is put in place to check illegal immigrants, Dimapur, the commercial hub of the state, would be in a shambles and not be worth living later.
On the issue of inner-line permit (ILP), Rio said under Clause 16 of the 16-Point Agreement, even Indian citizens need ILP. In the North East, tribal people, government servants (both central and state) with their immediate family members, students pursuing their education are exempted from the purview of ILP, he said.
Rio called upon the non-Naga community to join hands and work together to make Nagaland a vibrant and peaceful state.
Deputy chief minister Y Patton said creation of the register is basically to prevent issuance of false indigenous inhabitant certificates and to have a complete record of the indigenous inhabitants of the state.
Patton said the register would be the master list of all indigenous inhabitants. He added it has been planned to be prepared after an extensive survey by involving all concerned under the overall supervision of the district administration.
He said it would be ensured that the entire exercise is carried out in everybody’s interest so that the right of each and every citizen is protected.
Patton also assured that no community would be discriminated against and no decision concerning the exercise for creation of register would be taken in a haste.
Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said the RIIN or the ILP will be an ongoing process where views and opinions of every stakeholder would be taken into account so that no community feels discriminated. He said a committee has been set up to address and examine issues pertaining to the register.
The non-Naga communities extended their support to the register after their doubts and apprehensions were cleared.
On July 17, the government held first consultative meeting with legislators, tribal hohos, civil society organisations, NGOs, senior citizens and government officials on the exercise in Kohima. The meeting had unanimously resolved to support and extend cooperation to the state government for implementation of the register.