Nagaland Legislative Assembly Debates on Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) – Highlights of the Speech

Kohima, August 8: Participating in the discussion on matters of urgent public importance under rule- 50, Minister PHED, Jacob Zhimomi said as far as RIIN issue is concerned, all the members are unanimous including the NGOs, Tribal Hohos and Civil Society Organisations. He said it has both merits and demerits yet merits supersede demerits.” Once it is implemented in toto, RIIN could do away with pilferages in our State by way of giving opportunity to our local entrepreneurs and engaging them in developmental activities in our state, he said. It will also give effective administration and planning since the administrators and planners will get to know the exact data from this exercise, he added.

MLA, Chumben Murry while participating in the debate stated that Nagas as indigenous people is not well documented. He said RIIN and ILP are two different things which are totally different from each other, elaborating that RIIN will identify us based on certain criteria whereas ILP is more or less like a travel document which enables law abiding citizens to come and stay for a while. He also mentioned that other important factors ought to be spelled out so that no one is neglected in the exercise of RIIN.

Chumben also suggested the Government to observe World Indigenous Day which is being celebrated every year on 9th August.

Advisor ITC & NRE, Mhonlumo Kikon said implementation of Inner Line Permit in Dimapur district has necessitated the Registration of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland. He raised the idea of IT- Based ILP system in the State. He said RIIN is important at this juncture because of the unemployment problem and on the other, the inflow of illegal migrants is eating job opportunity in the private sector.

MLA, Yitachu said RIIN and ILP are two different subjects which cannot be clubbed together. Tribal areas have to be protected and its unique customary laws and practices cannot be infringed adding that people and their lands cannot be isolated.

Minister Agriculture & Cooperation, Kaito Aye said that there is nothing wrong in knowing the exact number of nagas of Nagaland. Therefore, he urged all the members including the Civil Society Organisations to come forward and support this exercise.

Advisor IPR, SCERT & HGs, Toshi Wungtung said that the exercise of RIIN is to bring accountability and responsibility of the governance in any form of dispensation. It identifies citizens in a proper manner for which the government is taking adequate measures in order to overcome unwanted issues in the course of its implementation. He also added that RIIN will give effective route for implementation of ILP.

MLA, Moatoshi while participating in the debate opined that all trade licenses be cancelled within a fixed period of time and further no issue of fresh license, vendors of bonafide Indian citizens should have license from the competent authority, no tenancy and restriction of employment to illegal migrants.

Leader of opposition, T.R. Zeliang while summing up on behalf of the opposition stated that the issue should be deliberated at length before implementation. Creation of RIIN with 1963 as the basis of categorisation without indigenous naga being well defined would only victimise certain sections of people, he said. He also suggested bifurcation of RIIN with ILP and reiterated that proper modalities should be worked out with no hue and cry. He further urged the government to implement ILP in Dimapur district with the same stringent action as in other districts saying that it is only to identify non- tribals and non-nagas.

Leader of the House, Neiphiu Rio while replying and expressing government’s stand on this issue lamented that it is unfortunate as the opposition members did not turn up for the consultative meeting on RIIN, when all the Tribal Hohos, NGOs and CSOs were present and extended their support on this exercise. He sought opinions and constructive criticisms from all sections of the people including from the legislators. He urged all the stakeholders to come forward and support this exercise as it is important not only for our present generation but also for the coming generations as well, he added.

Commission has been set up in regard to this issue where the members will thoroughly examine the matter and give recommendations/report to the government. The leader of the house also assured that the commission will go into the details and make sure that corrective measures over earlier notifications are taken. He also said that in the consultative meeting, all the tribal hohos, NGOs and CSOs endorsed the decision of the government and extended their support on the exercise of RIIN. However, they also cautioned that proper modalities should be worked out based on customary laws and practices practiced by their own respective tribes, he mentioned.

(News Source: DIPR)