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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Nagaland puts indigenous registry on hold

“The RIIN enrolments have been put on hold till the commission comes out with a report,” said Nagaland’s principal secretary and home commissioner Abhijit Sinha.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2019 07:38 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
The Nagaland government has put on hold the enrolments for the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) .
The Nagaland government has put on hold the enrolments for the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) .(HT file photo)
         

The Nagaland government has put on hold the enrolments for the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) as it announced the formation of a three-member commission to study the exercise amid concerns by civil society groups and political parties including the NPF who among other issues have questioned its timing, objective and the hasty announcement of the exercise without consultations. The commission will deal with eligibility criteria of an indigenous inhabitant, said a government statement.

“The RIIN enrolments have been put on hold till the commission comes out with a report,” said Nagaland’s principal secretary and home commissioner Abhijit Sinha.

Former bureaucrat B S Jamir will head the panel, which has been constituted for “studying, examining and recommending and advising the government over issues relating to RIIN”, a notification issued on Saturday said. The commission has been given three months to complete its report.

The panel will propose a mechanism for authenticating claims of indigenous inhabitants, nature of documents that will be accepted for the purpose and other issues related to the RIIN implementation.

Nagaland’s chief secretary, Temjen Toy, had earlier on July 13 said the eligibility criteria for inclusion of one’s name in the RIIN will be same as for the issuance of indigenous inhabitant certificate.

He described RIIN as “a record, a register of indigenous inhabitants including indigenous Naga tribes and the non-Naga indigenous people as per the April 28, 1977 notification.”

According to the notification, persons, who were on electoral rolls published on December 5, 1963, paid house tax prior to December 1, 1963, and who have acquired land pattas (title deeds) prior to December 1, 1963, are eligible for indigenous inhabitant certificate. Nagaland was declared a state on December 1, 1963.

An official involved in the process said December 5, 1963, cut off has been questioned with groups claiming that it’s not clear as to who constitutes an indigenous inhabitant and the commission is likely to examine if non-Naga indigenous inhabitants are to be given a different classification. “Permanent residents, for example,” the official said.

Civil society groups like the Naga Hoho have opposed the exercise.

“We are not convinced by its purpose. It is not at all necessary at this moment,” said Naga Hoho president Chuba Ozukum, citing the ongoing peace talks between Naga insurgent groups and the Centre.

Rosemary Dzuvichu, who teaches at the Nagaland University, welcomed the decision to put the exercise on hold.

“This would give people a chance to debate their reservations and place it before the commission,” she said.

The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), a major insurgent outfit in talks with the Centre, earlier on July 12 opposed the exercise calling it a ploy to divide the Nagas.

In June, the state government announced the exercise to prepare the RIIN saying it will begin on July 10 and will be completed within 60 days.

First Published: Jul 29, 2019 07:38 IST

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