Shillong Nov 8: Former Minister and present Executive Member of the KHADC, Paul Lyngdoh said that implementation of the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016 in the form of an amendment ordinance 2019, will help in tackling influx issue in the state.
“This will help to a great extent. The provisions of the ordinance are water-tight. We have to make sure that we are able to implement the ordinance in letter and spirit,” Paul told reporters.
Lyngdoh’s comment was in response to queries from reporters on the recent approval of state cabinet to amendments made in the Meghalaya Resident Safety and Security Act, 2016 in the form of an ordinance.
The ordinance has provisions that make it mandatory for people from outside to register with the government for safety and security.
After the National Register of Citizen (NRC) in Assam, where over 19 lakhs people have been excluded from the list, the situation in Meghalaya has become very vulnerable.
“Therefore we need effective law to deal with that situation. This situation at present is very alarming as on one hand, lakhs of people have been excluded from Assam’s NRC list, who will try to illegally enter into our state. On the other hand, our international borders are very porous and at the same time, as tribal indigenous communities, we are still very weak in term of economic strength. This makes us prone to a demographic invasion. Therefore it is an extra ordinary situation that calls for extra ordinary measures,” Lyngdoh said.
On allegations that the ordinance has created confusion or fear in the minds of people from outside the state, Lyngdoh said, “when you implement a law for the first time, it is bound to set off this kind of a reaction, and trigger some kind of a panic reaction. But other countries which are highly developed and survived on tourism and states like Sikkim is also surviving on tourism, but their laws especially on entry of outsiders are very stringent. Any country that puts first the interest of safety and security of its residents will sustain itself much longer. If we are only for short term gain and compromise our long term interest especially minority communities and future generations, then that will be an outlook which is dangerous.”
Explaining why the interest of indigenous tribals should come first, Lyngdoh said, “if we can develop our economy in a faster rate, but after developing our economy, the residents disappear, then a question will arise, for whom are we developing the economy?”
Asked how this ordinance would help in tackling influx in the state, Lyngdoh, who is also an executive member of the KHADC in-charge trade department, described the provisions in the Ordinance as “water tight.”
“This will help to a great extent. The provisions of the ordinance are water-tight and we have to make sure that we are able to implement the ordinance in letter and spirit,” he said.
On his opinion on the National Register of Citizen (NRC) Lyngdoh said that the Centre had announced that NRC will be applied all across India.
“In the case of us as residents of Meghalaya, that will come along side with the ordinance which will be regularized as a Bill. It means that we will be well guarded against the possibility of illegal immigration. We need strong laws to deal with these situations,” Lyngdoh said.
On Congress opposing the NRC, Lyngdoh said, “they (Congress) have their own understanding but according to our understanding the NRC has been introduced since 1951 in Assam where Meghalaya was still part and parcel (of undivided Assam). This is not something new to us and unprecedented. Shillong was the capital of Assam meaning when we start afresh (NRC exercise), there should be a base year, and that is 1972, the year we got our own state. NRC in Meghalaya should be based on records which are available in 1971 census. There should be some documentary basis for this purpose. That is why 1971 should be logical.”
It may be mentioned that on November 1, the Meghalaya cabinet has approved the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 to facilitate outsiders who intend to come to Meghalaya to register with the state government for safety and security.
Earlier Deputy chief minister, Prestone Tynsong said that people from outside who come to the state will have to register themselves for their own interest as well as for the interest of Meghalaya.