Picture credit: NRC website

The Meghalaya government is open to the idea of conducting the National Register of Citizens as done in Assam while at the same time assured of strengthening an existing law to be able to come up comprehensive mechanisms to deal with influx problem in the state.

Deputy chief minister, Prestone Tynsong told reporters that NRC is a new concept in the state and the state government is open to the idea that has emanated from the people of the state that such an exercise should be also carried out in Meghalaya as it was done in Assam.

Tynsong said this after discussing with a delegation of the Hynñiewtrep Youth Council that impressed upon the state government to implement in Meghalaya the Inner Line Permit system like in Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, and carry out the NRC update in order to find out genuine and non-genuine citizens.

The meeting was also attended by home minister James P K Sangma.

While demanding the implementation of ILP in Meghalaya, the Hynñiewtrep Youth Council told the state government that the existing act, the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016 would not be able to curb influx through a mere setting up of entry/exit points, and demanded incorporation of more clauses into the act to be able to monitor movement of outsiders who enter Meghalaya via the entry and entry/exit points.

The HYC demanded the state government to come with a law and incorporate in it the spirit of ILP.

“Checking of documents of people from outside at entry/exit points should not be relied only on electoral photo identify card (EPIC). Like in Assam, there are lakhs of people who have EPIC, but their names are not included in NRC,” HYC president, Robertjune Kharjahrin said.

He said that the law enforcing authorities should insist on other documents too and those who enter Meghalaya should be given some kind of a permit which explained everything including the days of stay and purpose of their visit.

“We really appreciated the state government for starting the implementation of ILP right from the secretariat where visitors and the objective of visiting the secretariat were entered in a document after which a pass was issued. We wanted state government to also implement ILP outside the secretariat because the security threat is more because of illegal immigrants who entered the state than those visiting the secretariat,” Kharjahrin said.

He also suggested that transit pass valid for 48 hours should be issued to travelers who pass through Meghalaya to reach other states.

Tynsong said that the state government would now review and revisit the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016, and would refer the matter to the law department to study in-depth so as to strengthen the act and make it a comprehensive one.

On NRC update, Tynsong said that various groups and political parties are also supporting the idea, and the government would soon discuss this issue.

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