Nagaland to Prepare NRC-like Register of Indigenous Inhabitants Starting July 10
RIIN will be prepared by village-wise and ward-wise surveys and each house will be visited to list indigenous inhabitants residing there.
The Nagaland state government issued a notification on Monday, July 1 to initiate the process of preparing a register of all indigenous inhabitants in the state.
The exercise for preparation of the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants (RIIN) will start on July 10 and will be completed within 60 days.
On the lines of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, the RIIN is being prepared in order to identify indigenous inhabitants and according to the notification, prevent ineligible people from obtaining indigenous inhabitant certificates. After the finalisation of the RIIN, no new such certificates will be issued except to children born to people whose names have been included in the RIIN.
The notification said that the RIIN will be prepared by village-wise and ward-wise surveys and each house will be visited to list indigenous inhabitants residing there.
Once prepared, provisional lists are to be published and put up in villages and wards, as well as the district and the state government website on September 11. The deadline for filing claims and objections has been set for 30 days after the publication of the provisional list.
Following this, the list will be finalised and each indigenous inhabitant would be given a unique ID.
“There would be a complete ban on the issue of fresh indigenous inhabitant certificates. In case there is anyone who is left out from the RIIN, he/she will need to file an application before the home commissioner, who will get the matter verified and take necessary action for updating the RIIN if needed,” the notification read.
The NRC exercise in Assam has been rife with issues. Kargil war veteran Mohammad Sanaullah was labelled a ‘foreigner’ and sent to a detention camp in June this year, as a result of administrative lapses. Sanaullah’s case made national headlines and he was released from the detention camp, but there is overwhelming evidence that others may not be so lucky. Scroll.in had reported that the performance of the Foreigners Tribunals was evaluated on the basis of the number of people they declare as ‘foreigners’, thereby providing an incentive to do so. A former tribunal member was quoted in the report as saying, “If you look through blinkered glasses, it is possible to declare everyone a foreigner citing a technicality.”
There have also been reports of people committing suicide upon not finding their names in the draft NRC.
Lawyer and author Gautam Bhatia, speaking to NewsCentral24x7, said, “While ostensibly being about identifying indigenous inhabitants, the RIIN notification replicates some of the disturbing features of Assam’s NRC, which have caused widespread harassment: for example, by allowing any third party to file ‘objections’ against an individual’s inclusion in the register. The fact that the processes seem to be modelled on the NRC also raises the fear that starting off with indigenous inhabitants may only be the first step in a slippery slope to a full NRC.”
Earlier this year, former civil servants had written in an open letter that there is in-built discrimination in the NRC procedures that disproportionately excludes linguistic, religious and ethnic minorities. The letter added, “The large exclusion of names from the draft NRC is the outcome of a mix of procedural and capacity weaknesses of the NRC State Coordinator and has been much reported about. The shortcomings include poor record management, technical glitches and arbitrary physical verifications, among others.”