Insights into Editorial: Imitation registry: on Nagaland NRC
The Nagaland government has initiated a move to implement its own version of citizenship register, albeit only for indigenous communities of the state.
The exercise to prepare the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) will start from 10 July and will be completed in 60 days, according to a notification issued by Home Commissioner.
Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN):
The RIIN list will be based on “an extensive survey”. It will involve official records of indigenous residents from rural and (urban) wards and would be prepared under the supervision of the district administration.
- The aim is to prevent fake ‘indigenous inhabitants’ certificates. The RIIN will be the master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state.
- The process will be conducted across Nagaland and will be done as part of the online system of Inner Line Permit (ILP), which is already in force in Nagaland.
- The list will be prepared after an extensive survey of village-wise and ward-wise list of indigenous inhabitants, based on official records, under the supervision of district administration.
- The RIIN teams will visit each house and make a list of the indigenous inhabitants actually residing there.
- The entire exercise will be monitored by the Commissioner of Nagaland. In addition, the state government will designate nodal officers of the rank of a Secretary to the state government.
- Their role will be to monitor the implementation, and will have no say in the adjudication process.
This unique identity is a part of the online system of Inner Line Permit (ILP):
Based on the adjudication and verification, a list of indigenous inhabitants will be finalised and each person will be given a unique ID.
The final list or the RIIN will be created and its copies will be placed in all villages and ward.
Electronic copies of the list will also be stored in the State Data Centre. A mechanism or electronic and SMS-based authentication will be put in place.
All indigenous inhabitants of the state would be issued a barcoded and numbered Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate.
RIIN identity will be in line with ILP:
The process will be conducted across Nagaland and will be done as part of the online system of Inner Line Permit (ILP), which is already in force in Nagaland.
Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document required by Indian citizens residing outside certain “protected” states while entering them.
The ILP is issued by the Government of India and is obligatory for all those who reside outside the protected states.
With the ILP, the government aims to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India.
What about those excluded from the list?
The notification issued by Nagaland states “in case anyone who is left out of the RIIN, he/she will need to file an application before Home Commissioner who will get the matter verified and take necessary action for updating the RIIN if needed.”
Once the RIIN is finalised, no fresh indigenous inhabitant certificates will be issued except to newborn babies born to the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.
RIIN should be precarious of issues like of NRC:
The NRC experiment in Assam witnessed extremely divisive political posturing.
Other Northeastern states are sure to be watching with keen interest what is unfolding in Assam and Nagaland.
The Assam experiment has no clear end-point. Bangladesh has repeatedly suggested that the process going on in Assam is “an internal matter” of India, implying that there is no deportation possibility here.
Other than deepening the existing fault-lines in its own State and rendering the situation even more volatile, it is unclear what the Nagaland government hopes to achieve through the exercise.
The right to appeal and a humane hearing should be in-built in this exercise.
Government directed all Deputy Commissioners to ensure that the teams were constituted by name, within a week of the notification.
In the complex demographies of North-Eastern States, it may prove to be difficult.
In Nagaland, various local attempts have been made previously to determine non-locals, non-tribals and non-nagas.
Two years ago, a town near dimapur passed a resolution to place curbs on illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Already it is volatile region, where the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is routinely extended.
RIIN should not become a vehicle to determine outsiders / insiders. It is expected to deepen the existing fault-lines.
Emotive political issues cannot be allowed to drive the compiling of a registry of citizens.