Shillong, Aug 18: The Hynńiewtrep Youths’ Council (HYC) has pointed out various loopholes in the recently notified Meghalaya Resident, Safety and Security Rules, 2017 while criticizing that under the law, the state government attempted to treat indigenous residents as illegal immigration in their own land.
“The state government should quit playing double standard and it should come clear whether it is interested in dealing with the issue of influx and illegal immigration,” HYC general secretary Robertjune Kharjahrin told reporters on Friday.
Kharjahrin said that the Rules failed to differentiate between permanent indigenous residents of the state and illegal immigrants when it stated in section 3 that all existing tenants have to apply for permission for staying in rented house.
“This clearly shows that the government is attempting to treat indigenous residents as immigrants otherwise why should indigenous undergo the same process,” he argued.
Kharjahrin pointed out that the Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 have clearly stated that native residents of Manipur will be exempted from its purview but unfortunately it is not the case in Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016 and rules.
The HYC has been opposing the implementation of the Act in the name of checking influx and illegal immigration into the state, stating that it the law has not teeth as far as protecting the rights of indigenous people.
The HYC also demanded from the state government to discuss on the implementation of its 14-point of demands which include Inner Line Permit (ILP) system along with other strong anti-influx laws.
On the other hand, Kharjahrin expressed strong reservation against the implementation of the Rules because it seeks to verify documents only after outsiders have stayed in the state as tenants besides directing the local authority to issue residential certificates.
“Why does the government force headmen to issue residential certificates when in the VAB passed by the district council, it clearly states that issuing of such documents would depend on the dorbar shnong,” he said.
He further alleged that the rules did not insist for important documents like the Permanent Residential Certificate (PRC) and Police Verification Certification (PVC) that immigrants should produce when they come to the state.
“The government says that the Act will have sharp look against criminals, but without such documents like PRC and PVC it will only further weaken the objective of checking influx,” he said.
The HYC leader said there is only one point which is similar to the ILP when it is said that outsiders coming to the facilitation centres (FCs) have to avail form – 4 before entering into the state.
He however said but the Act/Rules kept quite on the kind of action to be taken against outsiders who illegally entered the state and failed to empower the magistrate in the FCs.
Stating that tourists visiting the state have been exempted from the Act, he however said that there was no definition as to who is a tourist, and how many days he can stay in the state.
He also said that ILP sought not only to regulate the entry of outsiders but also prevent permanent settlement as it doesn’t allow them to stay for more than 6 months.
“The HYC will continue to oppose the Act/Rules and demand for strong anti-influx laws which will regulate entry of outsiders. Such laws should also link to work permit, residential permit and others. We will never accept the Act and Rules as they can never replace the ILP and its effectiveness to address influx and illegal immigration into the state,” he added.
Meanwhile the HYC has released a concept note on the need to implement ILP and other anti-influx mechanisms by various traditional instiutions in Khasi and Jaińtia regions.