Discourse on National Registers of Citizens held
IMPHAL | Mar 12 : Immigration of illegal migrants in the state is an issue of common concern and is not a new thing surfacing in the state, said Seth Shatsang, president of All Naga Students’ Union Manipur (ANSAM).
He was giving the keynote address in a discussion held today on National Registers of Citizens (NRC) at the office of Katomei Youth and Students’ Organisation, Katomei village, Senapati.
The discussion progarmme was organised by Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur, Apunba Ireipakki Maheiroi Sinpanglup and All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM).
Seth stressed that everyone is aware of the fact that the number of foreigners in the state are rising in an alarming rate and the issue has been surfacing since late 1970s.
“Our state is in constant unrest among communities, mainly on land issues which is directly and indirectly related with the rise of illegal immigrants into the state. They have occupied most of our lands and instead the local indigenous people end up fighting among ourselves” he pointed out.
This discussion programme is held to give awareness about NRC, which alone can regulate the incoming flow of illegal immigrants in the state. It is the collective responsibility of the people to do away this issue and social unrest of our state, he added.
Head of bio-statistics department, RIMS, professor R.K. Narendra Singh, gave a detailed presentation on problems and prospects of NRC updation in Manipur. He stated that manifestation of influx of migrants has affected demographic changes with distribution and structure of population, racial, ethnic, religion, political and economic pressures.
He explained that NRC defines bonafide citizen of India and is prepared in 1951 after the census of 1951. However, further NRC survey is not taken after that. The NRC will check and regulate migrants and will also formulate constitutional protection, he explained.
He elaborated that the need of regulation of NRC came to being with the first spark in 1978 when updation question of migrants came up in Assam election, which later came to be known as Assam Agitation. It gave birth to Illegal Migration (Determination and Tribunals) Act (IM-DT) in October 1983, with this act, except for Assam, the cut-off year for NRC is July 19, 1949 under Article 5 and 6 of the Act.
The main illegal migrants are from Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, and there are also inter-state migrations from various states such as Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, etc.
Supreme Court has 40 hearings on this NRC issue till date and the next hearing will be held in the first week of April.
Explaining on the context of Manipur, Narendra said migrants first came into the state as forced migrants (war captives). The numbers of migrants rose during the reign of king Khagemba in 1606 after winning wars. The British period since 1891 also brought in inter-state and foreign migrants to the state for workforce.
He said that there is a need of population commission for systematic study to differentiate foreigners and local indigenous people. There is no authorised body to deal population issues, resulting the unending illegal migration in the state.
In his strategy for NRC updation in the state, he said available data can be used as source for chalking out the foreigners and local people, base year fixation, framing of modality of updation based on the available documents.
The discourse was attended by culture activist, Ningthouja Lancha and social activist Artax Shimray as panellists, and leaders of student bodies.
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