Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya in a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister demanded extension of similar protocols of the Assam Accord to the state of Meghalaya and carry out the National Register of Citizens to weed out illegal citizens.
In a memorandum sent to Modi through the office of Meghalaya governor, Ganga Prasad, John F Kharshiing who is the chairman of the Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya said that the recent publication the final draft NRC in Assam is a serious matter of concern especially for the citizens of Meghalaya.
Kharshiing said that according to the Assam Accord – memorandum of settlement of August 15, 1985, some of the extracts of the memorandum of settlement under foreigners issue include section 5 which was for the purpose of detection and deletion of foreigners with January 1, 1966 shall be the base date and year.
“Although there was much relief in Meghalaya over the Assam Accord of August 15, 1985, the indigenous Khasi, Jaiñtia and Garo people of Meghalaya were shocked to have been neglected the just, proper and constitutional claims of extending the Assam Accord to Meghalaya who are faced with the identical problems as the Assamese,” he said.
Kharshiing said it is a known fact that on January 1, 1966 which was the cut off year or base year, the three hill districts of which now formed Meghalaya, were then a part of the composite state of Assam.
According to Kharshiing, all persons who came to Assam prior to January 1, 1966 including those among them whose names appeared in the electoral rolls used in 1967 shall be regularized. Foreigners who came to Assam after January 1, 1966 and up to March 24, 1971, shall be detected in accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1939. Names of foreigners so detected will be deleted from the electoral rolls in force.
“The foreign national problem in Meghalaya was directly inherited from Assam and hence the Government of India should have applied the same principles to the state of Meghalaya as have been laid down in the memorandum of settlement or Assam Accord of August 15, 1985. The state of Meghalaya has an Indo–Bangladesh border of 443 Kms whereas that of Assam is only 262Kms,” Kharshiiing stressed.
Stating that the hill state of Meghalaya was set up to specifically protect and preserve the distinctive culture language, customs and ways of life of the Khasi, Garo and Jaiñtia people, Kharshiing said, “Non-inclusion of Meghalaya within the then memorandum of settlement by the Government of India violated the provisions of Article 14 (equality before the law) and Article 29 (threat to our unique and distinctive way of life as tribal’s).”
In view of the above facts, Kharshiing sought the intervention of the Prime Minister to correct the wrong so that the continued profound apprehensions regarding the continuing influx of foreign nationals into Meghalaya and North East and the fear about the adverse affects upon the political, social, cultural and economic life of the state is urgently addressed.