DIMAPUR: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio Saturday assured the state's non-Naga communities that they would not be harassed during preparation of the register of indigenous inhabitants and said the exercise was needed to protect the bonafide citizens.
Unless a system is put in place to check illegal immigrants, the character of Dimapur, the commercial hub of the state, would not remain the same, Rio said at a meeting with representatives of the non-Naga communities here.
According to a June 29 government notification, the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) will help identify the citizens who settled in Nagaland prior to December 1, 1963, the day it became a full-fledged state.
The Nagaland government began the process of preparing the RIIN on July 10.
The RIIN would provide protection to genuine citizens who are permanent settlers of Nagaland and non-Nagas will not be harassed during preparation of the list of indigenous citizens, Rio said.
The meeting was attended by members of associations representing Assamese, Agarwal, Brahmin, Bengali, Bihari, Gorkha, Sikh, Jain, Meitei and Muslim communities.
Majority of the non-Naga communities of the state are concentrated in and around Dimapur, the only place in the state where the Inner Line Permit (ILP) is not required.
The ILP, an official document issued by the government of India, is required by non-Nagas to travel in Nagaland.
Only those whose names figure in the RIIN will be issued indigenous inhabitant certificates and all other certificates would become invalid after the final register is ready.
At the meeting, Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton assured that no community would be discriminated against and no decision on preparing the RIIN will be taken in haste.
Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said views and opinions of every stakeholder would be taken into account and a committee had been set up to examine issues pertaining to the RIIN.
The government had also held a consultative meeting with members of Naga tribal bodies and civil society organisations on Wednesday.
It was resolved during the meeting that policies and modalities of preparing the RIIN will be made public before the beginning of the actual enumeration.
While most political parties and civil societies have welcomed the preparation of the RIIN, a section of them has expressed concerns, claiming the definition of "indigenous inhabitants" is not clear.
PTI NBS NN DIV DIV 07202122 NNNN