Nagaland government says RIIN needed for ILP in Dimapur
Fourth session of 13th NLA concludes
Kohima, Aug. 8: The second and final day of the fourth session of Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) witnessed legislators from the ruling People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) and opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) continue their exchange on the issue of Registration of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) and Inner Line Permit (ILP).
The leader of the opposition, TR Zeliang said that till today the state has not amended the 1977 notification. Zeilang suggested different steps that can be taken for the registry of indigenous inhabitants in the state.
He said that regardless of one’s tribe identity, the name of the parents should be registered in the electoral roll.
“RIIN notification needs to be updated for it to be implemented,” said Zeliang while attacking the PDA government for not consulting the public and communities before implementation.
“Instead of imposing it on the people, tackle it in a systematic manner through peace and harmony,” Zeilang told the government.
Recalling the issue of Citizen Amendment Bill (CAB), the former chief minister argued that decisions were taken without any regard or respect for the people. “Hence we opposed (skipped) the RIIN meet just as we did for the CAB,” Zeilang reasoned.
“We will be caught in our own trap as RIIN will not be registered like a normal census,” he said adding that if implemented, a thorough research of family trees and exercise will be required for this.
“It’s easier said than done,” argued Zeliang.
“PDA is in the habit of taking decisions first,” he remarked adding that the government is not taking unilateral decisions.
“Be a people-oriented government without practicing so casually,” said Zeilang and cautioned that it would be a herculean task to prepare such a master list.
Further, he also pointed out that many genuine citizens would be left out if the 1963 electoral list is considered as the cut-off mark. “RIIN will destroy the very foundation of tribes; Nagas need to be well defined before hand,” he said.
In connection to the ILP, Zeilang said that no further confusion should be created among the masses. “ILP is not a mere notification and needs to be passed by the House,” said Zeilang.
“When Assam government can go ahead and issue NRC in a disputed area, why can’t Nagas issue ILP? (sic)” questioned the leader of NPF, while asserting that there was no need to form a new committee.
“What is holding you back in implementing ILP? ” he questioned the PDA.
In response, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio affirmed that whatever is important would be incorporated. “The treasury bench will not do anything without the consent of the people,” Rio asserted.
Rio hit back at the opposition and pointed out that many consultative meetings have been called but the opposition had chosen to boycott them.
“If you are really for the people, then you would have not isolated yourself and boycotted the assembly resolution,” said Rio.
With regards to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, the chief minister said that the state government was against the Bill in its present form. “We passed the resolution to reject CAB and implement ILP in Dimapur district,” Rio reminded.
Going back to the issue of RIIN, Rio asserted that even if the registration process consumes time, the state government will still go ahead, as it is important. “We have passed the resolution on RIIN on July 17.
“We will build a system and take corrective measures, hence all are coming forward and supporting this; it is for the people,” assured the chief minister. Further, he said that the government is not ignorant in any way regarding the issue.
Rio also maintained that people who cannot be certified by their native village would come under the category of domicile.
“The Constitution (of India) has recognised the customary practices but we have not compiled or documented our own practices,” he shared.
In order to implement this, Rio felt that each tribe should write down their customary laws and practices while documenting the convention of their tribes and compiling them, which should be approved by tribal hohos.
“We cannot isolate ourselves; we should wait for the commission report, have consultative meetings and then implement,” maintained the chief minister and affirmed that if people are not happy, the government will not go against the people.
“Don’t confuse the house and don’t confuse the people,” said Rio to the NPF.
Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton informed that a committee was constituted by the government of Nagaland to formulate measures to strengthen the existing system of issue of ILP in the state.
The report of the Committee on ILP (Abhishek Singh Committee) was examined and the Cabinet approved the following on February 25, 2019:
• Extension of ILP to the entire state including Dimapur district
• Entrust the committee on ILP to frame the rules and regulations of ILP within one month
• Home department should initiate the process of development of the online system for ILP.
“The framing of the rules and regulations and that of the online ILP system needs time,” said Patton adding that once the processes are completed, the government will be implementing the ILP regime in Dimapur at the earliest possible time.
The report of committee on ILP, while deliberating on various matters concerning the modalities of implementing ILP, had come up with a recommendation for creation of RIIN to ensure that bogus and fake indigenous inhabitants were not issued, he shared.
“The committee had further stated that such a register would take care of the menace of fake and fraudulent indigenous certificates, which is one of the main reasons for illegal migration in the state,” said Patton.
The recommendation was further claimed to have been examined; and the Cabinet in its meeting on June 29, 2019 after detailed deliberation approved for carrying out an exercise for creation of RIIN. The notification for RIIN was issued afterwards, he said.
“The master list will ensure that nobody is able to manipulate the system to create a bogus Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate. Side by side, RIIN by ensuring identification of all the genuine indigenous people in the state as well as those who have settled here for a very long time, will ensure that there is absolute clarity as to who all should be necessarily having ILP,” the deputy chief minister maintained.
“This will definitely enhance the effectiveness and efficacy of the ILP regime in the state,” said Patton.
According to him, after the issuance of notification, several views and suggestions were received from various sections and civil society organisations on matters concerning the RIIN exercise.
‘The government, taking note of the fact that the issues concerning RIIN, as raised in the meetings as well as at various forums, required detailed examination, study and in-depth consultations, had constituted a commission on RIIN on July 27 2019,’ he informed.
The commission was tasked to study, examine, recommend and advise in all issues relating to RIIN. The commission is headed by Banuo Z Jamir, former Chief Secretary of Nagaland, with two more members.
The deputy chief minister also stated that the government is committed to strengthen the implementation of ILP regime in the entire state by extending to Dimapur and by devising a suitable and fool-proof regulations; and it is also committed to carry out the exercise of RIIN correctly and comprehensively in the interest of the people of the state.