Imitation Registry: On Nagaland NRC

jatin
By jatin July 2, 2019 15:55

According to a notification issued by Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy, the Nagaland NRC has decided to set up a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) with the aim of preventing fake indigenous inhabitants’ certificates.

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  • Four years after Assam started revising the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Nagaland government has initiated a move to implement its own version of citizenship register, albeit only for indigenous communities of the state.

Need for RIIN

  • Illegal Migrants from Bangladesh: In Assam, the process to identify and expel illegal immigrants is currently underway with a major update to the NRC, which was first prepared in 1951. Nagaland, which was still a part of Assam and only became a separate state in 1962, has also witnessed a voluminous influx of migrants, especially from Bangladesh, over the subsequent decades.
  • Spillover impact of NRC in Assam: Nagaland is now wary of the fact that the stringent NRC process will result in a spillover of people whose names don’t feature on the Assam list.

Process of preparation

  • 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.
  • Nagaland claims to have watched the process unfold in Assam, followed it closely, and it will now complete the task of identifying and registering indigenous inhabitants in less than five months, by December 10, 2019.
    • This is more or less the kind of timeline that was followed by Assam, which is yet to publish its final NRC a year after the process began.
  • Designated teams of surveyors will be formed within seven days from the date of publication of the notification, and thereafter these teams will be sent across each village and ward to prepare the database.
    • The database will note each family’s original residence, current residence as well as the concerned Aadhaar numbers.
    • This provisional list will then be published in all villages, wards and on government websites by September 11, 2019.
    • Over the next 30 days, that is by October 30, 2019, claims and objections will be entertained.
  • Respondents will be given an opportunity to make their case before the authorities. Eventually, respective Deputy Commissioners will adjudicate on the claims and objections based on official records and the evidence produced. This process will be completed before December 10, 2019.
  • Based on the adjudication and verification, a list of indigenous inhabitants will be finalized and each person will be given a unique ID.
    • All indigenous inhabitants of the state would be issued a barcoded and numbered Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate.
    • 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 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. However, they will have no say in the adjudication process.
  • Once the RIIN is finalized, no fresh indigenous inhabitant certificates will be issued except to new-born babies born to the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.
Inner Line Permit (ILP)

·       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.

o   ILP’s origin dates back to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, which protected the British Crown’s interest in tea, oil and elephant trade.

·       It prohibited “British subjects” or Indians from entering into these protected areas.

o   After Independence, in 1950, the word “British subjects” was replaced by Citizens of India and the focus of the ban on free movement was explained as a bid to protect tribal cultures in north-eastern India.

 

Issues with RIIN

  1. Complex demography of North-eastern States:
  • Assam experience shows that complex demography of North-eastern States makes it difficult to finalize the list.
    • As many as 40 lakh people were left out of the NRC listing in Assam, which seemed aimed to filter out ‘illegal immigrants.
  • In Nagaland, various local attempts have been made to determine non-locals, non-tribals, and non-Nagas, and identify what some people refer to as the ‘Illegal Bangladeshi Immigrant’.
  1. No clear endpoint:
  • It is unclear what the Nagaland government hopes to achieve through the exercise.
    • 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.

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Source: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/imitation-registry/article28253592.ece

jatin
By jatin July 2, 2019 15:55