TNT News | August 5, 2018
The recent publication the Assam Draft National Record of Citizens (NRC) has become a serious matter of concern especially for the citizens of Meghalaya and this issue has now been raised by the chairman of The Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya, John F Kharshiing who is also the spokesperson of Federation of Khasi States.
The matter was raised in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi through the office of the Meghalaya Governor.
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The letter mentioned that as per the Assam Accord – Memorandum of Settlement(MOS) of 15th August 1985 (please refer to some of the extracts of the MOS under Foreigners issue) : Section 5. (1) For purpose of detection and deletion of foreigners, 1st January 1966 shall be the base date and year. (2) All persons who came to Assam prior to 1st January 1966 including those amongst them whose names appeared in the electoral rolls used in 1967 shall be regularized. (3) Foreigners who came to Assam after 1st January 1966 (inclusive) and upto 24th March, 1971, shall be detected in accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1939. (4) Names of Foreigners so detected will be deleted from the electoral rolls in force. Such persons will be required to register themselves before the Registration Officers of the respective districts in accordance with the provisions of the Registration of Foreigners Act 1939 and the Registration of Foreigners Rules 1939. (6) On the expiry of the ten year period following the date of detection, the names of all such persons which have been deleted from the electoral rolls shall be restored ….
Although there was much relief in Meghalaya over the Assam Accord of 15th August 1985, the Indigenous Khasi, Jaintia and Garo people of Meghalaya were shocked to have been neglected the just, proper and constitutional claims of extending the Assam Accord to Meghalaya who are faced with the identical problems as the Assamese.
It is a known fact that on 1st January 1966 which is the cut off year or base year, the three Hill Districts of which now forms Meghalaya were then a part of the composite state of Assam. The Foreign nationals problem in Meghalaya was directly inherited from Assam and hence the Government of India should have applied the same principles to the State of Meghalaya as have been laid down in the Memorandum of Settlement or Assam Accord of 15th August 1985. The state of Meghalaya has an Indo–Bangladesh border of 443 Kms whereas that of Assam is only 262Kms.
The Hill State of Meghalaya was set up to specifically protect and preserve the distinctive culture language, customs and ways of life of the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia people. The non-inclusion of Meghalaya within the then Memorandum of Settlement by the Government of India violates the provisions of Article 14 (Equality before the Law) and Article 29 (threat to our unique and distinctive way of life as tribal’s).
In view of the above facts, the letter urged the Prime Minister’s intervention “‘to right this wrong’ so that the continued profound apprehensions regarding the continuing influx of foreign nationals into Meghalaya and North East and the fear about the adverse affects upon the political, social, cultural and economic life of the State is urgently addressed”.
The letter was also marked to PS to Hon’ble Chief Minister, Government of Meghalaya, Chief Executive Member, KHADC, JHADC, GHADC among others.