Students’ organisations based both in the hills and valley are now pushing for implementation of National Register of Citizens in the state. While the state government has recently constituted a State Population Commission, it is yet to begin its work. It is not only about analysing abnormal growth of population in some hill districts or detecting illegal migrants, but also of accurate population data which are linked with development indicators or strategies and benefit schemes. And there is always room for misconceptions and wrong interpretations which often causes unwanted tension among the various communities inhabiting the state.
Taking exception to the proposed delimitation exercise in 2020, several civil society organisations had come up with a demand for setting up a State Population Commission to resolve the issue of abnormal population growths and for finding accurate Census data. Now, as many as six student bodies of Manipur demanded amendment in National Register of Citizens (NRC) to detect and deport the illegal immigrant and initiate necessary legal action.
On the other hand, before beginning any delimitation exercise there is a need for the state Population Commission to begin work and to extend NRC. The state Chief Minister N Biren Singh had objected to a delimitation exercise based on ‘wrong’ Census figures and has called for delimitation on a fresh Census figure without controversy.
The previous Congress regime had also objected to the delimitation exercise on 18 November 2005, after an all-party meeting.And the delimitation exercise except for Jammu and Kashmir was deferred. Why certain sections are objecting to delimitation based on 2001 Census figures?
Census operations of 2001 in Manipur was controversial and results are misleading with abnormal growth rates. The then Manipur government decided to order a fresh census after discussions with the team from the Union Home Ministry and the Registrar General of Census Operations.
A fresh survey in 19 subdivisions of the hill and valley districts was ordered. When the enumerators went for re-survey, they were met with resistance from villagers.
Another fact is that, there is mismatch between Census 2001 data and Electoral Roll 2020 prepared by the State Election Department. 2001 Census data exceeds the voter list enrolled in 2020 in many of the age groups, according to experts. Nearly 63,765 individuals are not reflected in the Electoral Roll 2020.
It indicates that these persons are fake. Electoral Roll is very sensitive issue. Only a few individual cases are there where a voter is excluded from the list. A special drive has been made through rectification of Electoral Rolls in Manipur.
Recently, about 75,000 bogus voters have been removed. When two important data Census and Electoral Roll does not match, it is but certain that either of the two have errors and are not based on actual position. This also automatically puts a doubt on the 2011 Census figures. It cannot form the basis for the delimitation exercise. So, before any delimitation exercise there is a need to determine actual population figures through the Population Commission.