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Reservations over register of Naga citizens
Correspondent
 DIMAPUR, July 16 - A day ahead of the consultative meeting called by the Nagaland Government on the Register of Indigenous Citizens of Nagaland (RIIN), the Zeliangrong Baudi (Nagaland), the apex body of Zeliang and Rongmei tribes, and the Chakhroma GBs Union (CGBU) on Tuesday expressed their reservation on the exercise.

The State Government has called a meeting with all the legislators and apex tribal bodies of the State to discuss the RIIN at the State Banquet Hall in Kohima on Wednesday.

While the Zeliangrong Baudi said the RIIN should be set aside and kept in abeyance until proper modalities or guidelines are worked out for its implementation, the Chakhroma gaon buras (village chiefs) expressed apprehension that if the non-Nagas are included in the register, they would become indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.

President of the Zeliangrong Baudi CR Zeliang and secretary Aluibe Theilung, in a release, said the Government should rather focus on strict implementation of the inner line permit (ILP) system in Dimapur.

CGBU president Thepfukedo Kuotsu and general secretary Atso Gwizan said if the non-Nagas are included in the list, they would become indigenous citizens of the State which would grant them ownership of land and entitle them to privileges otherwise reserved only for Nagas.

The village chiefs said if the RIIN is not properly implemented, it could become a bane rather than a boon and could seriously eat into the rights and privileges of indigenous Nagas of Nagaland.

They said the Government’s policy to implement the ILP on the basis of the RIIN was “absurd” and would pose a serious threat to the unique identity of the Nagas.

“This policy is to further divide the Nagas, particularly the Zeliangrong as a people,” the Zeliangrong Baudi said. The organisation also expressed dismay that its name did not figure in the list of invitees to the meeting called by the Government.

It said while working out the modalities on streamlining the RIIN, there should be partial consideration of the government notification of 1977 on the cut-off year of 1963 for inclusion in the RIIN to either 1971 or 1981.

The Zeliangrong Baudi reasoned that till 1964, there was underground movement of the Naga National Council, which was totally against the Indian Census and electoral roll enumeration in Nagaland. Owing to this, many genuine names were not included in the 1961 Census and 1963 electoral roll.

It also pointed out that the Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants was formed with the endorsement of all tribal hohos to check the infiltration of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and for strict implementation of the ILP in Dimapur.

The organisation said the Government also constituted a committee headed by Home Commissioner Abhijit Singh to work out modalities for implementation of the ILP. It said though the committee submitted its report to the Government, it has been kept in the dark since last month.

The Zeliangrong Baudi said instead of tabling the report, the Government notified the RIIN in a hurry without proper consultation with the stakeholders, resulting in the demand for a debate on the matter.

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