Shillong, Aug 1 (IANS) Meghalaya’s powerful Khasi Students Union (KSU) on Wednesday demanded a NRC in the mountainous state so that people of doubtful antecedents are flushed out.
“The KSU, after observing the NRC exercise conducted in Assam which based March 24, 1971 as the cut-off year, wishes to propose to the Meghalaya government to expedite a similar exercise so that people of doubtful antecedents will be flushed out of the state,” KSU President Lambokstarwell Marngar said.
A delegation of the KSU met Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong and submitted a petition emphasizing the need to expedite a similar National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise in Meghalaya.
Marngar said Tynsong promised that the issue would be taken up for discussion in the cabinet besides stating that the government would put in place mechanisms to address the problem of influx including setting up of entry and exit points in various parts of the state to detect illegal immigrants.
Noting that the first mass migration of outsiders into the regions of the present Meghalaya was in 1971 during the Bangladesh war, Marngar said: “The migrants, mostly refugees of Bengali origin, were from then East Pakistan. Since then, the small state of Meghalaya had been witnessing excessive and unabated influx of migrants from different parts of the South Asian sub-continent especially Bangladesh, Nepal and people from mainland India.
“If such a trend continues unchecked, there is a likelihood that Meghalaya will become like Tripura or Assam whereby indigenous communities are reduced to minorities within their homeland,” he added.
Proposing 1971 as the cut-off year to segregate genuine and non-genuine residents of the Meghalaya, Marngar said: “If such an exercise is implemented in Meghalaya, then it would be able to segregate the genuine and the non-genuine residents of the state and also will contribute immensely to the continuous survival of the indigenous communities of the state.”
Marngar feared that 40 lakh people in Assam who failed to find their names in the NRC may infiltrate into Meghalaya which shares a 900-km border with Assam.
The KSU leader said: “The population growth in Meghalaya from 2001 to 2011 is much higher than the national average of 17.64 percent. It is very much unlikely that indigenous communities are multiplying at such a rate. Thus the rapid increase in the decadal population growth can be attributed to unabated influx of outsiders.”