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Naga tribe status for Rongmeis

Kohima, Jan. 28: The Nagaland government is set to recognise the Rongmei community by granting it the status of indigenous Naga tribe — having taken suo motu cognisance of the issue raised by the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO), which has opposed the recognition.

However, in view of the fact that the Rongmei community is also one of the indigenous tribes of neighbouring Manipur and Assam, Scheduled Tribe and Indigenous Tribe certificates will be issued only to those members of the community, who or whose ancestors were listed in the 1963 electoral roll of the state and whose names are enumerated in the report of a cabinet committee, which was formed to look into the issue, in May 2012. This number currently stands at 1,313.

The cabinet had accepted the recommendation of the committee and agreed to recognise Rongmei as one of the Naga tribes. The committee report is available for scrutiny by the public.

The listed beneficiaries (covering the districts of Kohima, Dimapur and Paren) would be given the status of “Indigenous Rongmei Naga Inhabitants of the State of Nagaland” to enable them to avail job and education quotas.

The recognition of Rongmei as a Naga tribe was taken up after recommendation of the Zeliangrong Baudi, Zeliang People’s Organisation (ZPO) and Naga Hoho.

However, the ZPO chose to backtrack and took recourse to legal means against the recognition and a case was filed in the high court in 2012 and the matter is now sub-judice. The government is awaiting the final verdict of the high court.

Some organisations, including the ENPO, have opposed recognition of the Rongmei Naga tribe in the state.

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