Hornbill Festival 2019
Nagaland Governor RN Ravi dons Naga traditional attire at the opening day of the state annual Hornbill Festival at Kisama Village, near Kohima | PTI Photo
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Kohima: Nagaland Governor R N Ravi Friday said with the “successful” conclusion of negotiations between the Centre and Naga political groups, Nagas could be now “very close” to settlement of the decades-old Naga political issue.

Delivering his maiden address in the Assembly after taking up the gubernatorial post in August 2019, Ravi said the Peoples Democratic Alliance (PDA) government in Nagaland has always considered the early settlement of the Naga political issue as its most important agenda.

Ravi, who is also the Centre’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks, told the legislators, “It gives me great pleasure to share with you that we could be now very close to it.

“The negotiation which were going on for the past many years between the Government of India and the Naga political groups have been successfully concluded.

“My government conveys its deepest appreciation to all the stakeholders for exhibiting utmost sincerity, foresightedness and a spirit of understanding in helping create a conducive atmosphere for conclusion of the talks in a positive manner.”

The governor thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for their unwavering commitment, determination and constant guidance, which he said, ensured the progress of talks in the most purposeful and determined manner leading to its successful conclusion on a positive note.

Mentioning that it is imperative that all the various organizations unite for an early settlement, the governor said, “If we fail this time, then we will be missing a golden opportunity.”

On behalf of the Nagaland government, Ravi also made a sincere appeal to the governments and people of the neighbouring states to extend all cooperation so that the peace process, which has now reached a very critical juncture, concludes in a successful manner in the interest of enduring peace and stability in the entire region.

Delving on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019, the governor said before the Bill was laid in Parliament, there were concerns raised on the possibility of the indigenous people of the state getting demographically overwhelmed and seriously marginalized by the people from outside because of the provisions of the said legislation.

The Nagaland government, he said, had brought to the notice of the Centre about the special status being enjoyed by the state under Article 371(A), in addition to the Inner Line Permit system in force under provisions of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation(BEFR), 1873.

Both Article 371(A) and provisions of the BEFR, 1873 did not provide any ground for applicability of the CAB 2019 in the northeastern state, the Nagaland government had said.

He mentioned that in the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019, along with the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, the areas covered under ‘The Inner Line’ has also been exempted from the applicability and purview of the Act.

Protection and safeguarding of the rights and identity of the indigenous people of the state has always remained at the forefront of the state government’s concerns for which the government has taken a decision to create a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN).

The RIIN exercise envisages identification and making a master list of all the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland, he said, while maintaining that the creation of RIIN by clearly identifying the indigeneous people of the state as well as non indigenous persons who have permanently settled will also help in proper and effective implementation of the ILP system in the state.

He told the House hat once the RIIN Commission submits its report along with recommendations to the government, the same will be tabled in the Assembly for further deliberations.

The exact modalities of all the matters concerning the RIIN exercise will be finalized only after that, he said.

Also read: Home Ministry extends AFSPA in Nagaland for 6 months, declares entire state ‘disturbed’


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