TURA, JANUARY 29: The Achik Indigenous Justice Initiative Forum (AIJIF) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, seeking Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya after the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
“The last resort to mitigate the menace of illegal immigration in Meghalaya and to preserve the demography of the state is the introduction of ILP. Presently, the regulation is enforced in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram officially to protect tribal cultures in these states,” said AIJIF Director Alex K Sangma.
AIJIF coordinator Stubent Marak said, “The ILP demand is related to the question of survival of the indigenous people of Meghalaya. ILP will not allow migrants to come illegally to the region. It will also discourage illegal migration, and promote healthy economic cooperation between the Northeast and the neighboring countries.”
The NGO said the “porous” Bangladesh border – 443 km of which is shared with Meghalaya – was causing tremendous strain on the people of the state. “Illegal immigration, trans-border terrorism and movement of insurgents, emergence of non-state actors like terrorist organisations, religious groups and illegal immigrant groups, nexus between arms and narcotics smugglers are some of the problems being faced,” said coordinator Chenang Momin.
The AIJUF also referred to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam with neither the State nor the Centre coming up with plans on what to do with those that fail the citizenship test. “The fear of influx in Meghalaya is greater as the state shares a 900-km border with Assam. About 9.8 lakh people haven’t filed their claims under NRC. We have been witnessing a unique pattern of influx of Bangladeshi immigrants in which immigrants come to settle in Meghalaya after getting their domicile documents prepared in Assam,” alleged Alex K Sangma.
AIJIF said the passing of the Citizenship Bill was like rubbing salt into a deep injury.
“Meghalaya would be one of the worst affected states because a large number of Bangladeshis have already illegally entered the state in the past several decades, and more would come and seek to stay here. It will reduce the indigenous communities into a minority. The proposed Act also violates a tenet of India’s long-standing refugee policy, which mentions that refugees should return to their homeland once things turned normal again,” Sangma added. (Courtesy: AT)