Protecting the rights of indigenous people of the state priority, after Assam, Meghalaya mulls NRC update

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma has said that his government will examine the demands for the National Register for Citizens (NRC) update in the state, adding that protecting the rights of the indigenous people of the state is the government’s topmost priority. Sangma helms the National People’s Party, which is allied with the National Democratic Alliance, which recently published the final draft of the NRC. Sangma said that the government is still deliberating on what mechanism could be adopted for the same.

The influential Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) had demanded that NRC exercise is done in Meghalaya like in Assam. We had earlier reported how the KSU had set up various checkpoints along Ri Bhoi, East Jaintia Hills and West Khasi Hills and apprehended over a thousand illegal immigrants since. Apart from the KSU, chairman of the Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya John F. Kharshiing also sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Modi to extend the Assam-like protocol to Meghalaya and update the NRC to weed out illegal immigrants in Meghalaya.

Not just Meghalaya, but the demand to identify and weed out illegal immigrants has piqued in India across the states including in states like Haryana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan over and above the Northeastern states. Interestingly, while the central leadership of the Congress party have cast aspersions upon the whole exercise, their state units have come out in support of it.

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According to the NRC, as many as 40 lakh people among the total of 3.29 crore population of Assam were potential illegal immigrants in India. Opposition parties have perceived it as an opportunity to score one over the BJP and made inflammatory remarks while the Government, and the Army on various occasions, has maintained that illegal immigrants pose a serious threat to the demography and security of the country.


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