Kohima, July 12, 2019:

As Nagaland began an exercise on Wednesday to identify the state’s “indigenous” people, the state’s apex tribal body, Naga Hoho, warned that the process could end up “dividing” the Naga tribes dwelling in the hill state and could have larger ramifications for the communities.

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It may be mentioned that the deadline to complete Nagaland’s version of the NRC, the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), is September 10.

The Naga Hoho has stated that the Government should have first undertaken consultations before starting it and it should have been debated thoroughly at an appropriate platform.

There have been complaints that there is no clarity on the cut-off year for identification of the indigenous people. Moreover, a lot of Nagas, particularly from Manipur, are settled in Nagaland.

The Hohos have also warned that there is a possibility of RIIN impacting the Naga political issue, and have stated that the Government should be more concerned about the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

Integration of Naga-inhabited areas of Northeast and Naga unification are among the demands of major rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagalim or NSCN-IM which has been negotiating with the Central government since 1997.

RIIN is aimed at preparing a ‘master list’ of the indigenous people. One objective behind the exercise is to check the issuance of fake indigenous inhabitant certificates.

The Nagaland government says RIIN will be prepared at the end of an extensive survey under the supervision of all district authorities. All districts have constituted teams at various levels for the enumeration of people. Village council chairmen, Village Development Board secretaries, ward authorities, tribal hohos, church authorities and NGOs have been also involved by the government.

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