All Nagas are ‘indigenous’: Rebel group NSCN-IM slams Nagaland’s headcount of locals

The outfit claimed that this was the key focus of all Nagas and any political steps to be taken must be in conjunction with this decision. 

Published: 13th July 2019 03:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2019 04:15 PM   |  A+A-

Neiphiu Rio

Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio (File | PTI)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Nagaland government has begun an exercise called Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) but major rebel group National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) said all Nagas, wherever they were settled, were indigenous in their land by virtue of their common history.

“All Nagas are indigenous in their ancestral homeland which is contiguous. It is the legitimate rights and political decision of the Nagas to live together under one political roof. The Nagas do not and will not accept their division by imposed artificial state and international boundaries,” the NSCN-IM asserted. 

The outfit claimed that this was the key focus of all Nagas and any political steps to be taken must be in conjunction with this decision.

On July 10, the Neiphiu Rio government in Nagaland had set in motion RIIN to enumerate the state’s indigenous people. The NSCN-IM said the government’s move was contradictory to the inherent rights of the Nagas. It alleged the move was politically-motivated.

The integration of contiguous Naga-inhabited areas of Northeast for the creation of a “Greater Nagaland” and Naga unification are among the major demands of the NSCN-IM which has been negotiating with the Central government since 1997.

The outfit’s posture on RIIN has not come as a surprise to many. Most of its top leaders, including general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah, are from Manipur. A large number of the Nagas have also migrated to Nagaland from Manipur over a period of time. It was not clear in the Nagaland government’s notification on RIIN whether the government will view them on a par with the state’s 16 recognised tribes.

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

The 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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