National Register of Citizens in Manipur
The Hon’ble Chief Minister while interacting with the press during the Meeyamgi Numit and Chinggi Luchingbagi Numit on 15th July announced that the centre has agreed to Manipur updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the State will establish a Population Commission. In fact the Centre had issued on 30th May the Foreigner’s (Tribunal) Amendment Order 2019 in pursuance of the powers under Section 3 of the Foreigner‘s Act, 1946 which was challenged by the All Assam Minority Student’s Union (AAMSU before the Supreme Court as to its constitutional validity under Article 32 This order permits the state government, or the district collector or district magistrate also beside the Central government to set up tribunals to determine whether a person is a foreigner or not. The order also changes the wording “rule 16F of the Citizenship Rules, 1956” mentioned in sub-para 1a, to “rule 19 of the Citizenship Rules, 2009” but as this is with regard to sec 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 is applicable only to the state of Assam. The new order also incorporates two new clauses which provide a comprehensive procedure for pursuing a case in the tribunals, where even the DMs were empowered to refer a suspected foreigner case to a tribunal. It would be necessary to examine the implication of the order in detail as to its impact on Manipur. Thus the go ahead is not only for Manipur but for all states and not as made to be believed for Manipur especially.
Our neighbouring state Nagaland had on June 29 issued a notification by its Chief Secretary for setting up of a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) with the aim of preventing fake indigenous certificates. The RIIN will be master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state, which will be based on extensive field survey. The process, despite opposition from various groups, has been started from the 10th July and is targeted to complete within 60 days. The provisional list will be published in government website by 11 September and claims and objections will be permitted till 31 October, 2019. The whole process will be completed by 10 December, 2019. Each inhabitant will be given a unique ID which will have a bar code for every inhabitant. One has to wait and watch how things go in Nagaland as many important groups have raised objections to RIIN. Nagaland is also racked by ethnic polarisation with many objecting even to the inclusion of Rongmei as a Scheduled Tribe in Nagaland, whose population is only 1313, while keeping quiet over Sumiya which has a much larger population. One advocate who is a BJP member had even filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the law which prescribes Inner Line Permit that mandates people from other states to obtain a special permit to enter the State. The Supreme Court had rightly rejected the petition but anyone from the northeast should be aware that the Mainland India may do anything to make the region a vassal region, permitting large scale migration including illegal immigrants to settle to change the demography and make the region pliable.
In respect of Manipur many illegal migrants having entered Manipur after merger of the state into the Union of India but had by now been treated as inhabitants of the state have raised objections now and then. They will continue to raise objections on any initiative in this regard and for them rightly so, as if NRC is implemented they will be in a limbo as many have come from Bangladesh and Myanmar. Citizenship is defined in the Constitution which in Article 5 says that every person who at the commencement of the Constitution has a domicile and born in the territory of India, or either of whose parents are born in the territory of India or who have ordinarily been resident in the territory of India shall be citizens. Article 6 provides of citizenship to certain persons who have migrated from Pakistan. Article 11 provides that nothing in Part II of the Constitution shall derogate from the powers of Parliament to make provision with respect to the acquisition and termination of citizenship and all other matters relating to it. Thus the Citizenship Act 1955 came into being which prescribes besides others, the procedure for becoming citizens through naturalisation, etc. Sec 6A was added in respect of Assam to permit migrants who entered Assam up to a specified date to become citizens of India.
NRC in Assam is carried out after insertion of Section 6A in the Citizenship Act of 1955 which recognises those who had entered Assam by 24 March, 1971 and the whole process is monitored by the Supreme Court. In the case of Manipur and Nagaland if there is no amendment in the Citizenship Act, 1955 the provisions in the Constitution where 26th January 1950 will have to be the crucial date have to be followed, except those who can be naturalised under the Citizenship Act. The moot point is what will be the legacy data and admissible documents for Manipur. Here, it may be indicated that the establishment of the Population Commission is of utmost importance as they will after systematic study indicate what shall be the legacy data and admissible documents. However, efficacy of the Commission will depend on the members appointed. If the Commission is packed with politicians and bureaucrats, nothing can be achieved. It must be manned by competent persons who had experience in this field and it is our hope that the Population Commission is manned by competent and qualified individuals and allowed to function properly to achieve the goal set for it.
There is as yet hardly any reaction to the announcement of the CM, except by those who are demanding the same. After understanding the implication of the announcement, there is likely to be opposition to it. Here the maturity of the state government in tackling the matter will be of utmost importance and interactions with all groups must be carried out and explain the need for the major exercise and no genuine citizens will be affected. The role of the CSOs is critical in they can have dialogue with those groups who object to the exercise and making them understand the need of the exercise. I anticipate reactions from the Kuki dominated regions like Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Chandel and Tengnoupal as many of the denizens there have arrived Manipur after 1950 and continues even in the 1990s. Even a respected leader from Churachandpur is a Myanmarese citizen having held elected position there. The opposition to RIIN in Nagaland is understandable as the effort to unify the Nagas will be undone with it, as Nagas from other states will not be included. Similarly, in Manipur there may be serious opposition as many may feel that they will be victimised and will not be included in the list. Updation will be done after passing through the prescribed procedure but many who had migrated from neighbouring countries at a much later date but have enjoyed every benefit extended to a citizen is bound to oppose as they will not have the necessary documents to buttress their claim to be citizens of India living in Manipur.
The population growth in Manipur is quite high. The decadal growth rate from 2001 to 2011 is 24.50% in respect of Manipur against the All India Figure of 17.64 % and the world rate of 10.70%. The comparative rates between the hill and the valley of Manipur during this period are 38.5% and 15.72% respectively. The growth rate in the hill is arbitrarily high which point only to one thing, that is the migration in the hill continues, while in the valley it has gone down. The danger of migration is that there is every chance of the migrants swallowing the indigenes and this ought to be understood by all indigene; despite the fact that the migrants belong to the same ethnic community and they will become politically, educationally and socially dominant as migrants always work harder than the indigene. USA is very dynamic as majority are migrants. Without casting aspersion on any community, many had migrated in the late 20th Century and these will be groups that will oppose the utmost. And those who oppose the move can be classified as migrants; though the first wave of this community may have started arriving about a century back and the migration of some members of this community still continues. There are community whose nomenclature in their own dialect means “Go People”, meaning nomadic. The concern of the state is those arriving in the recent past.
Certain practices in the State Government also need an immediate review. It may be appreciated that under the scheme of things in the Constitution there can only be one domicile, the domicile of India and there cannot be a domicile for Manipur or any other states. The tendency of our DMs and SDMs issuing domicile certificates certifying that a person is a domicile of Manipur is blatantly wrong, and indicates sheer lack of knowledge of the Constitution. The correct certificate should be that the individual is a domicile of India and permanently resides within the state of Manipur, etc. I had raised this matter in different fora when I was in service but the illegal acts continue; as bureaucrats follow precedents rather than applying their minds! Further, such certificates are issued perfunctorily without too much scrutiny, due to time constraints, etc. However, these are serious documents and must be issued after proper enquiry. Time may be taken but the people must be made aware that they should apply well in time and not apply when it is needed in a day or two.
The State Government have to immediately establish the Manipur Population Commission manned by competent professionals and while updating the NRC follow a path which is inclusive so that opposition is minimised and it should be willing to confabulate with those opposing parties making everyone understand the process and why it is necessary for the state for such a massive exercise. Those coming from other states have to present their documents from their original states, while those from neighbouring countries like Myanmar and Bangladesh will not be able to do so and can thus be identified. The earlier the exercise is carried out, the better. It must also be understood that the ruling party in the centre is keen to update the NRC throughout the country but there is always a catch in that their priority is the Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh for converting them as Indian citizens which can become a vote bank for them. In Manipur it must be ensured that religion and ethnic affiliation must not be taken cognizance and only the place of origin of them and the time they come to Manipur are reckoned.
AMWJU observes 46th foundation day IMPHAL | Sep 16 Chief minister, N. Biren Singh today called upon the media fraternity to play a pivotal role in drug eradication programme taken up by state government acknowledging their role in dealing with any s.....
IMPHAL | Sep 16 Chief minister, Nongthombam Biren today launched Digital Payment Services and National Generic Document Registration System in Imphal East district at the DC Complex, Porompat. He also inaugurated various infrastructural projects in .....
IMPHAL | Sep 16 Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West today committed Naorem Rekha’s murdered case, mother of fashion designer Rober Naorem, to Session Judge, Imphal West. The accused Naorem Dijamani, husband of the deceased, was produced before CJ.....
IMPHAL | Sep 16 Regarding the death of Babysana, the family of the school principal has expressed that the school authority also wants the case to be handed over to CBI. A release from the family states further that the public has supported all the .....
IMPHAL | Sep 16 Reacting on the speech of union home minister, Amit Shah’s ‘one country one language’, social activist and advocate, Yendrembam Kiran stated that many indigenous languages in the country have been replaced with Hindi language and the ce.....