The Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants (JCPI) on Wednesday reiterated its appeal to the Nagaland government to introduce the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) without further delay.

In a representation to Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, JCPI co-convenor Atomi Swu and secretary Tia Longchar reaffirmed the committee’s earlier representations to the state government on the issue and said they felt it most appropriate to submit this representation to him as a reminder.

The JCPI also reiterated that the cutoff year for enrollment as indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland should be December 1, 1963, on the basis of Nagas by birth.

It said November 21, 1979, when Dimapur was constituted as a Tribal Belt vide land revenue department notification No LR/2-118/76, will not be accepted as the cutoff year by any means.

“You are well aware of the mess and complication we have in Nagaland today arising out of improper possession of indigenous inhabitant certificate and the only remedy to all these functional hustles is to enforce RIIN in letter and in spirit at the earliest,” the representation said.

The JCPI expressed its gratitude to the government for taking a prompt decision on RIIN exercise at the “right time”.

It said as per the directives of the government, the RIIN Commission headed by Banuo Z. Jamir had completed its studies and submitted the final report to the government.

The committee said though it had expressed its anxiety over the delay in submitting the report by the commission, it also understood the circumstantial difficulties arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said as the RIIN has to be enacted as a law, the state cabinet has to approve the report and place it before the Assembly for making it into an Act of the government.

In its earlier representation, the JCPI said special provisions under Article 371A and other protective laws, which include effective enforcement of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873, in Nagaland can be fully realised only when indigenous inhabitants are properly identified.

It also said there cannot be a separate cut-off year for inner line permit (ILP) enforcement in the state as the system came along with statehood in 1963.

The committee said enforcement of ILP should be subjected to the status of the inhabitant’s category identified by the RIIN.

According to the committee, the government had taken the decision to undertake the RIIN exercise by its notification dated June 29, 2019.

It said pursuant to the decision, the government conducted a consultative meeting with all political parties, tribal hohos and civil society organisations in Kohima on July 17, 2019, where the majority officially endorsed the government’s decision.

The state government conducted the second consultative meeting on the exercise for creation of the register with various no-Naga tribal bodies/stakeholders in Chumukedima police complex on July 20, 2019.

Bhadra Gogoi

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