Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that instructions have been given to take steps in the wake of publication of first draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam even as he slammed the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of trying to legalise immigrants by proposing amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Mukul told reporters on Friday evening that steps were being taken according to mandate of the law including the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016 that has been passed by the state Assembly as part of the comprehensive mechanisms to check influx and illegal immigrants.
Mukul said that instructions have been given to all deputy commissioners and superintendents of police and take all necessary measures to address the issue. He said that the DGP was also reviewing the situation.
After the first draft of the NRC was published in Assam on December 31 night, there is fear that suspected illegal immigrants whose names could not make it to the NRC list, might try to move out of Assam and settle in other neighbouring states like Meghalaya, Nagaland and others.
The process of updating the NRC with 24 March, 1971 as the cut-off date was initiated based on the Supreme Court ruling.
The Central government has not announced any concrete plan on the future of people who failed to qualify the citizenship test in Assam.
“It is time to activate the local authorities and take care of the issue of illegal immigrants,” Sangma said.
States in the Northeast – Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram sharing porous border with Bangladesh make them vulnerable to infiltration.
Meanwhile the Meghalaya CM also voiced out his protest against the move of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 by getting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 passed by Parliament in order to make illegal migrants which comprised of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship in India.
“On one hand they wanted to push illegal immigrants, but on the other, they wanted to legalise immigrants by amending the Citizenship Act. This is not acceptable to the people of Assam, Meghalaya and the Northeast. If this Act is amended, the whole fallout will be on the Northeast. Do you think those immigrants from Bangladesh will go to Punjab, Kerela or Rajasthan? They will look at the Northeast as their destination,” the Chief Minister said.