Fourth session of 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly underway: RIIN debate headlines opening day proceedings
Kohima, Aug. 6 (EMN): As expected, issues concerning Registration of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) and Inner Line Permit (ILP) dominated the discussions on the opening day of the fourth session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly on Tuesday in Kohima.
Former Speaker, and NPF legislator, Chotisuh Sazo said he was surprised to see the present government’s notification on RIIN and questioned why the government was in a hurry to implement it, even though the ILP issue was ‘more urgent at the moment.’
Sazo claimed that the government was trying to divert the ILP issue by prioritising RIIN. He further pointed out that since the NNC and FGN had stopped many villagers from enrolling in the census decades ago, the village councils and gaonburas should be entrusted for verification and registration.
“There will be very few Nagas in Dimapur and it will have an adverse effect on different aspects like employment and others,” Sazo said.
He also questioned whether the villagers who have been recognised in recent years would still have the same status. “RIIN should not be a stumbling block for the Nagas,” he said. Referring to Tripura, Sazo said that Nagas will be ‘slaves’ in their land if ILP is not implemented.
In connection to the same underlying issue of the ILP and RIIN, Minister of Technical Education and Tribal Affairs, Temjen Imna Along asserted that the Modi-led government has accepted the uniqueness of the Nagas and their political history.
“We need to identify Nagas not just by name but by generations; there is an influx not just in the commercial hubs but through the interiors of Nagaland also and it’s something to be concerned about,” Along said.
Minister of Public Health and Engineering Jacob Zhimomi asserted that the government had no intention to antagonise anyone in the state with the implementation of RIIN. “The local youth will be more engaged in attaining employment and will also help the administration in various districts,” said Zhimomi.
Another NPF legislator, Dr. Chumben Murry said: “Nagas account for two percent of the world’s indigenous population but there is no record of it.” According to him, Nagaland needs the support of the world at large.
He questioned why the ‘role of NPF’ was not taken into consideration, arguing that such an issue of ‘large magnitude’ should be tackled together.
Mmhonlumo Kikon, Advisor to IT, Science and Technology; New and Renewable Energy, said that the common factor between the three committees formed to tackle the issue of RIIN was the registry of the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.
Echoing Kikon’s sentiment, Advisor to School Education, KT Sukhalu said that proper documentation was needed to implement the ILP strictly. “To identify Nagas, especially in the bordering areas, needs to be broadly defined,” argued Sukhalu.
“Nobody will get discriminated by the implementation of RIIN,” he said.
The Speaker proposed to continue the discussion on RIIN and ILP on August 8, due to shortage of time on day one. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio as well as leader of opposition TR Zeilang will speak on the issue.
Nightingale Building in Kolkata
NPF legislator Imkong L Imchen questioned Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton on the status of Nightingale Building in Kolkata, terming it a long pending “night disturbance” to all. ]
Since a Joint Parliamentary Committee was constituted to tackle the issue of the building, Imchen also questioned what were the other functions performed by the members of the committee, besides attending court hearings.
In this connection, Patton responded that in 1997, a lease agreement was executed between the government of Nagaland and Civil Engineers Enterprise Private Limited (CEEPL) with respect to Nightingale Building which is also known as Nagaland House Commercial Complex.
He informed that a lease for 20 years with clauses for renewal for two terms was agreed upon. After the lease expired in 2017, he said that the government claimed an enhanced rent of INR 2.2 crore instead of INR 5 lakh, which the tenant was paying every month.
This claim was challenged by the lessee in Kolkata High Court, he informed.
Patton further informed that the advocate general pointed out to the court that the state has a right to pursue other legal remedies like filing a suit for possession and others. “It shall avail of all the remedies apart from seeking the relief of enhancement of rent or compensation,” said Patton.
“Issue has been going on since 1997; it is not us but because of somebody else we are trapped,” argued Patton.
Further, the government informed that the committee members attended a High Court hearing on the case in July 2019 and observed that the advocate general made a strong defence in favour of the government by strongly contending the rights of the government. The case will commence for hearing on September 6.