DIMAPUR, July 16 - The Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) today resolved to abstain from attending the consultative meeting to discuss the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), saying the very purpose of consultation was defeated the day the Nagaland Government notified that the exercise would be undertaken and completed within three months.
The State Government on July 13 had called a consultative meeting with all legislators, tribal hohos and civil society organisations on the exercise for creation of the RIIN at the State Banquet Hall in Kohima.
Taking cognizance of the bulletin issued by Assembly Secretary K Sekhose on Monday inviting the legislators to the consultative meeting, the NPF legislators deliberated at length the agenda given by the Government here on Tuesday, NPF spokesperson and MLA Imkong L Imchen said in a release.
The NPF legislators said if the Government is serious about consultation with public organisations, civil societies and political parties, it should immediately cancel/revoke all notifications/orders for implementation of the RIIN and first issue an invitation for threadbare deliberation on the matter.
Otherwise, the NPF Legislature Party will not be party to some “damage control” and “image-saving exercise” in the form of a consultative meet as was done in the case of the Citizenship Amendment Bill where only after three Cabinet decisions supporting the Bill, a consultative meeting was convened at Chumukedima, Imchen said.
The NPF Legislature Party said it is deeply disappointed with the treatment meted out to the party by merely equating it – the principal Opposition party in the State – with a civil society even in matters of utmost importance for the State.
The party condemned what it called the “indifferent attitude” of the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) Government in dealing with sensitive issues, including the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the RIIN.
The Opposition legislators noted that the PDA Government has the propensity for inviting public organisations and civil societies for consultations only after adopting resolutions and issuing government notification(s).
“This irresponsible attitude of the PDA Government in dealing with stakeholders is nothing short of sheer disregard and insult to the sentiments and opinions of the people,” Imchen said.
According to the NPF Legislature Party, the enumeration process prepared by the government functionaries cannot be accurate and wholly reliable without the contribution of village councils and gaon buras (village chiefs) of respective villages, including the student community, as highlighted by NPF president Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu in a statement on Monday.
The NPF legislators said the Government should deliver on its promise to implement the inner line permit (ILP) system in Dimapur district instead of diverting the attention of the people with the RIIN.
“When the looming threat is from the burgeoning population of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, there is no logical explanation as to why the Government desires to invest time and energy on the RIIN instead of the ILP,” Imchen said.