Care and caution
Riding on the fact that unlike NRC, RIIN would not make those not included in it "illegal or stateless", Nagaland Deputy CM Yanthungo Patton exuded confidence in the process to compile a register of indigenous Naga inhabitants. Patton opined on how the exercise would safeguard Nagaland from outsiders and admitted that compiling such a list would require more time than what was earlier prescribed. Consulting all civil society groups is a fair move from the state government whose purpose through RIIN is to prevent the issuance of indigenous inhabitant certificates to ineligible persons. When it comes to RIIN, Nagaland government can learn a lot from its neighbour Assam which has been embroiled in an intense NRC process for quite some time now. Though RIIN, unlike NRC, does not place any dire consequences upon those excluded from it, such a list will definitely spark ruckus amongst the citizens–both legal and illegal–in a bid to get themselves registered. The chaos alone can act as a cover for many ineligible ones to pursue mala fide ways and enrol at the expense of bona fide inhabitants. This calls for extreme care while compiling the list–whose need only arose following Assam's NRC pursuit. And, as one can take from the NRC process, countless legal battles could be initiated should legitimate persons be left out which does not augur well for the state. Assam's turmoil should be enough for Nagaland to take cognisance of the fact that RIIN remains a precarious issue and assumes top priority. Sceptics have even discussed the need for RIIN but given how the government is dedicated to pursuing it, vigilance and cross-checking mechanisms have to be at their best. For the sake of indigenous people living in rural hamlets who will make RIIN a tough task, the government will have to commit personnel and set up redressal units to ensure that no genuine inhabitant misses out. When the question of identity and citizenship comes up, massive chaos can spark should there be any inconsistency in the registration procedure. While Patton has defended the government's decision to conduct the RIIN exercise, the onus of a successful operation falls on his government and him, who must prepare for a difference of opinion from different sections of society who may also pose arguments that will invariably delay and complicate the simple-looking RIIN procedure. Caution and care at every step will ensure successful completion of this activity, if at all.