The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) on Wednesday said the issue of illegal migrants in Nagaland needs to be resolved sooner or later either through the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) or otherwise.

Nagaland PCC president K. Therie said everybody should cooperate towards this end.

Therie, in a release, said having a clear census and identity is a necessity for all political and economic programmes both for the nation and the state.

Also read: RIIN preparation: Naga People’s Front chief puts forth suggestions

He said the RIIN is meant to further authenticate census, Aadhar and electoral roll to enable Nagaland to apply for inner-line permit (ILP).

The PCC chief said the simple qualification for enrolment in RIIN is that a person’s name or their legitimate ancestors’ names must be in the electoral list of December 5, 1963.

Also read: Nagaland citizens’ group slams govt over registry implementation

“The impact will be upon all who fail the RIIN for they will be subject to ILP and Article 371(A),” he said.

Article 371(A) of the Constitution grants special provisions to safeguard customary law, social practice and belief of the people of Nagaland and the resources of the state from the intervention of the Union government and its various policies unless the state Assembly so decides by resolution.

Therie added that the cases of bona fide citizens, who fail to qualify for RIIN, will need more explanation about their status and position.

According to him, the State Legislative Assembly has not made any law to effectively implement the Article 371(A) in letter and spirit, as some people are critical of the Act even today.

“Sometimes when the need comes, we call in Article 371(A) to protect us, other times some call it traitors’ agreement,” he said.

On the Nagas of Nagaland, who have migrated to the urban areas, Therie said Naga People’s Front (NPF) president Shurhozelie Liezietsu’s recommendation to authorise Nagaland villages would be more reliable.

He opined that the state needs a consensus law on adoption before such authority is delegated since adoption law differs from village to village.

“It is the duty of the state government to execute and discharge justice, equality, protect and preserve without fear or favour, affection or ill-will,” he said.

On the other hand, the Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA), among various other civil society organisations, expressed concern over the state government’s plan to set up the RIIN while the Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organisation (NVCO) appealed to the state government not to implement it at this stage.

The NMA demanded that the government withdraw its notification and hold public consultation without any preconditions by recognising the rights of the indigenous people to determine what is best for them.

The NVCO said the government should give priority in checking the fake/false certificates of indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland, effectively implement and enforce the Inner Line Regulation of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873 in the entire state.

The NVCO wants protection of the rights of the Naga indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland as provided under Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.

The organisation said if the state government is serious in protecting the rights of Naga indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland, then it should first effectively implement the existing laws and do not jump by way of short cut such as RIIN which is bringing more problem and finally would dilute the rights of Naga indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.

Bhadra Gogoi

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

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