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Rengma Nagas

2021 JUN 9

Preliminary   > Geography   >   Human geography   >   Tribal affairs

Why in news?

  • The Rengma Nagas in Assam have written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding an autonomous district council amid a decision by the Central and the State governments to upgrade the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) into a territorial council.

About Rengma Nagas:

  • Rengma is a Naga tribe found in Nagaland and Assam states of India.
  • According to the 2011 Population Census of India, Rengma population stands at 62,951.
  • The headquarter of the Rengmas in Nagaland is at Tseminyu, and the headquarter of the Rengmas in Assam is located at Phentsero/Karenga Village.
  • The Rengma Nagas are divided into two groups: the Eastern Rengmas and the Western Rengmas.
  • The Rengmas are experts in terrace cultivation and celebrate an 8 day harvest festival called Ngada.
  • The Rengma tribals bury their dead, and place the spear and the shield of the deceased in the grave.
  •  The funeral ceremonies end with lamentations and feasting.

Sixth Schedule and autonomous district councils:

  • The Sixth Schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.
  • It seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).
  • ADCs are bodies representing a district to which the Constitution has given varying degrees of autonomy within the state legislature.  
  • The governors of these states are empowered to reorganise boundaries of the tribal areas including autonomous districts.
  • Along with ADCs, the Sixth Schedule also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region.
  • In all, there are 10 areas in the Northeast that are registered as autonomous districts – three in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura. These regions are named as district council of (name of district) and regional council of (name of region).
  • Each autonomous district and regional council consist of not more than 30 members (except Bodoland Territorial council which has 46 members), of which four are nominated by the governor and the rest via elections. All of them remain in power for a term of five years.

Powers of ADCs

  • The ADCs are empowered with civil and judicial powers, can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear trial of cases involving the tribes.
  • Governors of states that fall under the Sixth Schedule specifies the jurisdiction of high courts for each of these cases.
  • The councils are also empowered to make legislative laws on matters like land, forests, fisheries, social security, entertainment, public health, etc. with due approval from the governor.
  • The roles of the central and state governments are restricted from the territorial jurisdiction of these autonomous regions.
  • Also, Acts passed by Parliament and state legislatures may or may not be levied in these regions unless the President and the governor gives her or his approval, with or without modifications in the laws for the autonomous regions.

Prelims question

Consider the following statements regarding “Rengma Nagas”:
1.They are a tribal group who reside entirely in the state of Nagaland.
2.Bagurumba is a folk dance by Rengma Nagas.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a)1 only
(b)2 only
(c)Both 1 and 2 
(d)Neither 1 nor 2

Answer to prelims question