Representative photo. Image credit - m.dailyhunt.in

The Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants (JCPI) said the Nagaland government is bound by its own decision and endorsement of apex Naga tribe hohos to implement the RIIN.

The State government had taken the decision to undertake the exercise of Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) by its notification issued on June 29.

Committee convenor K. Ghokheto Chophy and secretary Tia Longchar in a release on Tuesday said the government has the legitimacy and authority to amend the existing laws.

The state government can also make new laws through legislation, issue new notifications or modify existing notifications in the interest of the state, the JCPI stated.

Also read: RIIN: WSH seeks case study on Nagaland’s 16 recognised tribes

The government conducted a consultative meeting with all political parties, tribal hohos and civil society bodies in Kohima on July 17 where the government’s decision was endorsed.

The committee said opposition to RIIN by some “defunct organisations” should not be an excuse to delay announcement of implementation of inner-line permit (ILP) in Dimapur.

Also read: Nagaland: RIIN discussed thoroughly in Assembly, Rio calls for unanimous support

It said the state government cannot afford to be bogged down by the voices of busy bodies and their negative campaigning.

“If this happens, the people will take to streets to protect the integrity of the state at any cost,” the committee warned.

“At the moment, it seems the state government is running scared of un-mandated and faceless organisations rather than protecting the demographic position of the state,” it said.

Whoever stands for Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 must welcome the register, the committee stressed.

It also said the RIIN is indispensable for effective implementation of ILP in Nagaland and that the state government has full legal and moral authority to implement both.

The committee, however, said the state government cannot fool the people by simply adopting a cabinet resolution to implement the ILP in Dimapur.

The RIIN exercise is underway and a commission has been formed by the government with former chief secretary Banuo Z. Jamir as its head.

The committee demanded that the state government declare Dimapur as ILP zone and begin its pre-implementation exercise from now.

This is necessary because by the time the RIIN exercise is done and is over by September, the full and official implementation of ILP in Dimapur and elsewhere will begin without delay, it said.

It said establishing the identity of indigenous inhabitants is a basic necessity, which should have been done since the inception of statehood.

Also read: NNPGs’ statement on RIIN adheres to Naga customary practices: ENNWA

The committee said though the present exercise of RIIN has been taken up after many collateral damages, it is never too late and all the stakeholders must support the process.

The committee appealed that none should confuse the general public on RIIN.

It said the cut-off date of December 1, 1963 is only for identifying non-Nagas and Nagas from other states who may be qualified to be called indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.

It added the Nagas, Kacharis, Kukis, Garos and Mikirs of Nagaland are indigenous to the state and the cut-off criterion does not apply to them.

The committee warned that it will be on warpath if the government even moots the idea of setting the cut-off date as 1977 under pressure from certain quarters.

“At a time when the status of J & K has been downgraded, only traitors will be ranting against RIIN,” the committee said.

Bhadra Gogoi

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

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