Hundreds turned back as Meghalaya, Mizoram intensify checking post NRC
Hundreds have been turned back in Meghalaya and scores of inner line permit violators caught by police in Mizoram on their border with Assam as they strengthened security at checkpoints after the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) list was published on August 31.
“From September 1 to till September 26, 1,241 persons were detected without valid documents. They were directed to bring documents and visit Meghalaya,” Meghalaya’s superintendent of police (anti-infiltration) Sylvester Nongtnger said.
Nongtnger said officials manning the check gates check for NRC status or other valid documents before allowing people to enter the state.
“This is being done to make sure illegal immigrants do not enter the state,” he said.
After the NRC list was published, the Union home ministry had clarified that those out of NRC are not to be detained under any circumstance till they exhaust all remedies and will continue to enjoy all rights as other citizens. Those out of NRC can appeal to foreigners tribunals in the state and prove they are citizens.
Police in Meghalaya have also apprehended as many as 17 Nigerian nationals between September 13 and September 18 who had come illegally via Tripura and Assam after flying to Dhaka.
Among others, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had also expressed apprehensions that the over 1.9 million people out of the NRC in Assam may try to enter Meghalaya.
A senior police official in the state said on condition of anonymity that checking was increased amid these apprehensions and taking into account past experiences. After the 2018 draft NRC list was published, the Khasi Student Union had set up check gates at the Assam-Meghalaya border to check NRC status of visitors.
“Instead of the students’ body taking over which may lead to a law and order problem, it is better that the police shored up checking,” said the senior official.
In Kolasib, the Mizoram district which borders Assam, a two senior official said strict checking is in place after the state government directive earlier this month to not issue temporary inner line permit (ILP)to those who do not have their names in the NRC. Unlike Meghalaya, visitors to Mizoram need an inner line permit.
Kolasib’s superintendent of police Vanlalfaka Ralte said between September 1 and September 16, as many as 282 inner line permit violators were caught at the five check gates on the Mizoram-Assam border in the districts and pushed back.
As many as 150 ILP violators were caught on September 2 in Kolasib, according to records.
“Strict checking is still in place on the check gates and every day there are a few people who are sent back because of lack of documents,” Kolasib’s deputy commissioner Zoengsanga said.
After the NRC list was published, state home minister Lalchamliana had said that NRC status of visitors from Assam would be checked before they are issued the temporary inner line permit.
“Mobile patrolling was being conducted in several roads where people not included in NRC could have sneaked in and the police found a few hundred of such people. They were pushed back,” a news agency quoted Lalchamliana’s statement in a public meeting on September 24.
The government in Nagaland, which also has an ILP regime for the most part of the state barring its commercial capital Dimapur, had issued instructions to the police on September 2 to strengthen check gates to prevent “any possible influx of illegal immigrants” and make sure the non-locals are not allowed without the local pass.
A senior police official in an Arunachal Pradesh district bordering Assam said they have intensified checking of ILP after the citizens’ list was published.