The Nagaland government Wednesday started a process of preparing a register of all indigenous inhabitants of the state, Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said.
The Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) will help identify indigenous inhabitants who settled in Nagaland prior to December 1, 1963, the day it became a full-fledged state. The RIIN will prevent people from acquiring fake indigenous inhabitant certificates, Toy said. "Currently such certificate is being issued randomly but the RIIN will ensure efficiency and streamline the entire process, while also providing accurate data of the indigenous inhabitants in the state," he told PTI.
Only those whose names figure in the RIIN will be issued indigenous inhabitant certificates and all other certificates would become invalid after the preparation of the final register. The list will be prepared by an extensive house-to-house survey, based on official records, under the supervision of the district administration, Toy said. Nagaland Home Commissioner R Ramakrishnan had on June 29 issued a notification that the exercise would start from Wednesday and will be completed in 60 days.
To prepare the RIIN, a number of teams has been set up at village and ward levels, and the house-to-house enumeration will commence only after a final review meeting of different committees is held at the chief secretary level, he said. The RIIN is loosely termed by some quarters as another form of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), currently being updated in Assam, but actually it is a "more efficient process" to issue a certificate to the genuine indigenous people of the state, the chief secretary said.
While several political parties and civil societies have welcomed the move, a section of them expressed concerns, claiming that the definition of "indigenous inhabitants" was not clear in the notification. According to the notification, each member of a family will be listed in the village of their original residence and mention will be made of any member living elsewhere. A provisional list would be published in the villages and wards, as well as on the website of the district and the state government on September 11.
Claims and objections can be filed for a period of 30 days, that is on or before October 10, 2019. Based on this, the list of indigenous inhabitants will be finalised and each indigenous inhabitant will be given a unique ID. Accordingly, the final list of indigenous inhabitants, the RIIN will be created, the home commissioner said. Once the process is complete and all genuine indigenous inhabitants are issued certificates as per RIIN, all existing indigenous inhabitants certificates issued by any authority will become invalid, the notification said.