Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio said implementation of Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) should be well thought out and that it should not cause any panic, chaos or harassment to anyone or any community. 

He said there has been discussion on the need to implement RIIN to protect the interests and rights of the Nagas. 

“At the same time, we need to ensure that all rightful citizens of India should not be denied what is justifiably their right,” Rio said. 

He was addressing a consultative meeting with tribal hohos (bodies) of the State in Kohima on Wednesday evening. 

Deputy chief minister Y Patton, who also holds the Home portfolio, tabled a copy of the report of the government constituted Commission on RIIN on the floor of the Nagaland Assembly on August 5. 

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The Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants has been spearheading a movement for implementation of RIIN in the State with the cut-off date as December 1, 1963. 

The commission has made several recommendations to the State Government after holding consultations with various stakeholders, civil society organisations, NGOs, political groups and individuals. 

Some of the main recommendations of the commission include authority to authenticate claims of being indigenous Naga and non-Naga permanent resident, registration, manner of conducting the authentication exercise for all categories etc. 

Rio said every Naga should trace their roots back to the village and the ancestry will be verified through a four-tiered verification mechanism after which he or she will be registered as an indigenous inhabitant of Nagaland, Rio stated. 

He said the non-Naga tribes whether Kacharis, Garos, Kukis or Mikirs who can trace their ancestry to a village established before Nagaland got statehood on December 1, 1963, would be entitled to register as Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland. 

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Those Indian citizens who had settled in Nagaland before December 1, 1963, will be eligible for Permanent residence certificate on the basis of documentary evidence of their stay in the State prior to statehood, Rio said. He added that they will be eligible to possess immoveable property and will not require an ILP for movement within the State. 

On Naga tribunal, Rio said as per the 16-point agreement, a Naga tribunal at the State level can act as an appellate authority for the cases to be decided according to customary law. Such a tribunal consisting of those who have expertise in customary law can help settle many cases which are of a complex nature and cannot be easily decided in modern courts. 

He also stressed the need for documentation and codification of the traditional laws as they will provide clarity on where the traditional laws can be invoked and where Central or State laws will need to be invoked. 

Regarding the boundary dispute between Dimapur and Peren district, Rio said the long-pending demarcation of the administrative boundary between the two districts needs to be discussed and settled amicably. 

Rio requested the tribal bodies to take the issue of women reservation in urban local bodies in the right spirit and resolve the matter so that elections to civic bodies can be held at the earliest. 

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“As the society progresses, there is a need for new institutions such as urban local bodies.  We cannot become prisoners of our traditions,” he stated. 

Pointing out that the government has not been able to hold elections to the urban local bodies since 2008, Rio said the State is deprived of substantial grants under the Finance Commission for undertaking various developmental activities for not holding the civic body elections. 

Representatives of the tribal bodies gave their views and suggestions on the issues for consideration at the meeting. 

Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, NPF Legislature Party leader TR Zeliang and other legislators of the State were present at the meeting. 

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: