TODAY -

Influx of illegal immigrants : MTU, MIYC call for collective response
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 27 2024: Even as there is an "unnatural" spike in the number of voters in the Kuki-Zo dominated areas, the threats posed by the influx of illegal immigrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh need to be faced collectively by the indigenous commu-nities of Manipur, said Meetei (Meitei) Tribe Union and Manipur International Youth Centre (MIYC) .

The forced settlement and naturalisation of the illegal immigrants in Manipur pos-es serious threat not only to the Meiteis but also to all the other indigenous communities, the two organisations said in a joint statement.

The organisations claim-ed there has been a spike in the number of voters in Kuki-Zo inhabited districts of Churachandpur, Kang-pokpi, Pherzawl and Tengnoupal.

With a total of 1,82,732 voters, according to the latest electoral rolls, Chura- chandpur is emerging as one of the districts having the most number of voters.

Likewise, there has been a spike in the number of voters in Kangpokpi (1,03,563) and Pherzawl (34,897) .

Moreover, around 1,600 new villages have sprung up in the districts of Chura-chandpur, Kangpokpi, Pherzawl and Tengnoupal, said the MTU and MIYC.

When illegal immigrants pose serious threats to the indigenous communities, they have been settled here and enrolled in the voters' list for political gains.

Although they are not indi- genous people, they have been given the Scheduled Tribe status which gives them benefits of many Government schemes and pro- tection, the organisations said.

Tracing recent history, the organisations said as many as 42 villages of Thoubal district were transferred to Churachandpur district in 1953, and the valley districts of Kangpokpi, Churachandpur and Tengnoupal were converted to "hill districts" .

In addition, as many as 8 Assembly Constituencies were included in the Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency.

While many hills in the valley have been included in hill districts, as many as 33,000 hectares of land which existed as reserved valley villages in 1932 has been transferred to hill districts, said the organisations.

The valley area, which is around 700 square miles, and mainly inhabited by the Meiteis and other communities, comprises agricultural land, water bodies and other uninhabitable land.

After excluding the agricultural land and water bodies, the area being inhabited by the Meiteis and all the other communities is only about 300 square miles, they said.

According to the Census, 40 percent of the around 13 lakh population in the valley do not possess land Patta, they added.

Considering these present socioeconomic, geographical and political realities, the Scheduled Tribe tag for Meiteis is essential and a must to give the indigenous community constitutional protection, said the MTU and MIYC.

While inserting Meiteis in the ST list, the non-indigenous Kuki-Zo should be removed from the list, they said.

To protect land and its people, Mizoram has already enacted a law with 1951 as the base year banning sale of land to "outsiders" .

In January last, Assam Government carried out an eviction drive clearing 8,000 hectares of land purportedly encroached upon by immigrants from Bangladesh, said the organisations.

In Manipur however, as many as 16 forest offices have been burnt in the hills for carrying out eviction drives in Reserved and Protected Forests, they added.

While demanding implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the organisations stressed that agreements with Myanmar and Bangladesh to deport their Nationals must precede the exercise.

The NRC exercise without such an agreement with the foreign countries will yield no desired results, they said.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was implemented in Assam from 2015 to 2019.The exercise identified as many as 40 lakh people as illegal immigrants in 2017.Later in 2019, the same exercise concluded that only 19 lakh people have been identified as illegal immigrants.

While the NRC in Assam detected 19 lakh people as illegal immigrants, they have not been deported.

To avoid this problem, the NRC exercise in Manipur should be done after signing agreements with Myanmar and Bangladesh to deport their Nationals, said the organisations.

In the meantime, the Government may enforce the Foreigners Act 1946 to check illegal immigrants.

Foreigner Tribunals may be set up in all districts and the porous border areas must be fenced, they said.

Around 360 kilometres of border with Myanmar has not been fenced while the Government of India is spending as many as 34.686 billion dollars a year in defence.

The Government of India has completely failed in checking illegal immigrants in the North East, they said.


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