Kohima: Just a day ahead of the public protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Nagaland governor RN Ravi on Friday said that with the entire state of Nagaland coming under the purview of Inner Line Permit (ILP), the state remains exempted from the application of the Act.
“There were concerns raised on the possibility of the indigenous people of the State getting demographically overwhelmed and seriously marginalised by people from outside because of provisions of the said Act,” said Ravi, who is also the governor of Meghalaya.
Ravi went on to say that his government had notified the Centre about the special status granted to the state under Art 371(A) and the ILP regime under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) 1873, which does not provide any ground for applicability of CAB/CAA. Ravi added that with the exemption of the tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura as included in the sixth schedule and the ILP areas covered under BEFR in the CAA 2019, it has “due recognition to BEFR 1873”.
Recounting the extension of ILP regime to Dimapur on December 9 last year, Ravi, in his address to the fifth session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly, said that the decision was made due to the “grave situation” arising out of the “large influx of illegal immigrants”, as well as the entry of “anti social elements and groups of various from outside”.
Ravi clarified that as Dimapur sub-division was constituted as a tribal belt only on November 21 in 1979, a distinction has been made where the non indigenous persons who settled prior to this date will not require ILP and that it applies to those who entered the state after the date.
He assured the non-indigenous persons settling in Dimapur that the extension of ILP regime shall not adversely affect their legitimate rights and interests as citizens of the country and that all efforts are being made to ensure that the process of identification of ILP will be non-discriminatory and transparent.
Meanwhile, Ravi strongly noted that the protection and safeguarding of the rights and identity of the indigenous people of the state has always remained a priority. He said that with the creation of the Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), a master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state, issuance of false indigenous certificates to non-eligible persons will be prevented, which in turn will protect the rights and entitlements that are due to the indigenous persons.
He said that once the commission that was constituted to study, examine and recommend on RIIN exercise submits its report, the modalities will be tabled in the House for deliberation. Saying that this exercise will be a major milestone towards protecting the interest of the indigenous people, he expressed confidence that with the support of all stakeholders, RIIN will soon be initiated.