SHILLONG, April 11: The Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) and Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) have urged the state government to initiate the National Registration of Citizens (NRC) in Meghalaya and ensure illegal foreign nationals are deported at the earliest.
In a joint memorandum to the chief minister Conrad K Sangma here on Wednesday, the FKJGP and HNYF said, “If your government is admitting the presence of large number of foreign nationals in the state, we suggest that your government initiate the NRC even in Meghalaya and deport all the foreign nationals.”
The demand came following the recent proposal of the Chief Minister to the Central government for issuing of work permit to Bangladeshi nationals as a measure to address the concern of illegal infiltration.
The two organizations are also of the opinion that the idea floated by the Chief Minister is an indication that the government is admitting the presence of a large number of Bangladeshi nationals in Meghalaya.
Expressing strong opposition to the idea, FKJGP president Wellbert Rani and HNYF general secretary Sadon K Blah said, “The present government is only trying to find out ways and means to enable these parasitic foreign nationals to earn their livelihood legally in our state.”
Stating that the tribal minority are already feeling the pinch of the Indo-Nepal friendly treaty, they said, “Your (Conrad) proposal to grant work permit to the Bangladeshis will only open another floodgate of influx and subsequent naturalisation into full citizenship by the Bangladeshis.”
The two organizations also sought clarification as to how the government intends to grant the work permit to the foreigners while pointing out that the state at present is having only the Meghalaya Interstate Migrant Workmen Act.
Referring to the provision of this Act, which seeks to protect the rights of the locals in term of employment, the leaders was also of the view that granting of the work permit to the Bangladeshis will result in the direct de-employment of the local people with lesser skills.
Also protesting against the Centre’s move, the leaders said, “We are not happy with the intention of the central government to grant citizenship status to Hindu Bangladeshis and we are equally not happy with intention of the state government to issue work permit to the Bangladeshis.”
According to them, in neighbouring Assam, the decadal growth of the Muslim population was up from 30.9 % in 2001 to 34.2 %in 2011 whereas the country’s Muslim population has grown only marginally from 13.4 % to 14.2 % over the same period.
“States in India who are feeling the pinch of Bangladeshis migrants like West Bengal and Tripura are already opposing the central government’s move to amend the existing laws to grant citizenship status to the Bangladeshis,” they stated.
Meanwhile, the FKJGP and the HYNF which were part of the conglomeration of the 13 pro-Inner Line Permit (ILP) groups also demanded the state government to immediately stop the idea of granting work permit to Bangladeshi nationals keeping in mind that it is against the interest of the minority community.