Assam's neighbours up security fearing infiltration after NRC release; student bodies want list extended to rest of North East
Authorities fear that the 40 lakh people left out of the Assam NRC final draft will try to seek refuge across the border in neighbouring states.
Shillong: While Assam's neighbours were on their toes to thwart possible infiltration of people who were left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) final draft, a prominent students' body of the region called for extending the citizens' register to the other north-eastern states. The final draft of the NRC was released in Assam on Monday.
Lauding the Assam government for its achievement in preparing the draft NRC, the North East Students' Organisation (NESO), an umbrella body of students of all the north-eastern states, demanded that the exercise be extended to the other states in the region as well as they too faced the illegal immigration problem.
NESO chairman Samuel Jyrwa said, "The NRC was one of the demands after the Assam Accord. Now, we desire that it should be extended to all the north-eastern states." He added that the other north-eastern states also suffered due to illegal immigration. "We have seen the quantum of rejections (people left out of the NRC final draft) in Assam and the states in the North East are extremely cautious lest these people run for refuge from Assam," Jyrwa said.
The Meghalaya government held a high-level meeting to take stock of the situation along its border with Assam, officials said. The deputy commissioners and superintendents of police were asked to keep a close watch on the development in close coordination with their counterparts in Assam, state additional chief secretary (home) Peter Ingty said. The meeting was chaired by Chief Secretary Y Tsering and attended by Ingty, home commissioner S Kharlyngdoh and Director General of Police (DGP) Swaraj Bir Singh, the officials said.
Ingty said there was no untoward incident reported so far, and the state government had taken precautionary measures to prevent any breakdown of law and order, especially in the districts bordering Assam. "We are undertaking a tight vigil and action will be taken against any trouble-monger or alleged infiltrators," the DGP said.
The Garo Hills are on high alert as there are apprehensions that many of those whose names do not figure in the final draft NRC may use the plains there to enter Mizoram, a senior official from the Garo Hills division said.
Meghalaya's influential Khasi' Students Union (KSU) called on the traditional bodies and village elders to detect and report any spill-over incidents. KSU president L Marngar said, "Those rejected from Assam will certainly now use Meghalaya as a refuge. Unlike Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, who have the Inner Line Permit (ILP) provisions, Meghalaya does not have such facilities to detect influx."
The Arunachal Pradesh government has issued advisories to the police department to maintain a strict vigil on all check posts of the state and frisk dubious people. As Arunachal shares an 804-km boundary with Assam, the state government is apprehensive that many people from that neighbouring state may try to sneak in, fearing deportation. "All the check-gates have been put on a high alert, and security personnel have been asked to go for rigorous checking of all those entering the state," Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Tusar Taba said, adding that the superintendents of police of all districts bordering Assam were instructed to keep a close watch on the situation.
The Mizoram government did not sound any security alerts in view of the publication of the final draft of the NRC in Assam, a senior state police official said.
Nagaland, which shares one of the longest borders with Assam, is also on high alert. The Nagaland Police has deployed additional forces in the border areas, including Indian Reserve Battalion units, Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said. Six districts of the state — Kohima, Dimapur, Mokokchung, Wokha, Mon and Longleng — share a border with Assam, he said, adding: "We are keeping a close watch on any possibilities of influx."
The state government has also written to the village councils, asking them to remain vigilant and not to allow illegal immigrants to enter their areas or employ them in any manner, he said.
Meanwhile, security was beefed up in Tripura, along its 100-km border with Assam's Karimganj district. "We have beefed up security along the Assam-Tripura border, apprehending infiltration of people from the neighbouring state. We are keeping a close vigil on the border," said Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Dharmanagar in North Tripura district Dhiman Das Chowdhury.
The Opposition CPM said it was against the revision of the NRC in Tripura, while the ruling BJP said it did not see any possibility of Assam's NRC revision affecting Tripura's demographic balance. State CPM secretary Bijan Dhar said his party opposed the NRC revision in Tripura, adding that they had earlier clarified their stand on the issue. "We have not discussed the matter in a party forum yet. I do not see any possibility of Assam's NRC revision affecting Tripura's demographic balance," state BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb said.
In Manipur, the police are on the lookout for bamboo structures over the Barak river, which could be used by the immigrants to cross over to the state. Chief Minister N Biren Singh told reporters, "Vigilance along the Barak river, which flows in Jiribam district, has been enhanced, and the police have been directed to cross-check suspicious individuals."
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