Manipur: UNC, COCOMI demand collective decision on NRC update

Imphal, July 22 2022: United Naga Council (UNC) and Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) have demanded members of Manipur Legislative Assembly to take a collective decision during the upcoming Monsoon Session on updating NRC (National Register of Citizens) based on a cut-off year to identify illegal immigrants so as to place the matter to the Government of India for taking up necessary action to deport the illegal immigrants from the state.

In a joint statement, UNC and COCOMI said that the existence of indigenous people of Manipur is under threat and badly affected by the demographic imbalance caused due to continuous influx of illegal immigrants.

Accordingly, attention of the chief minister was drawn through a memorandum submitted with request for taking up necessary steps to save indigenous people of the land in view of evolving situation vis-�-vis the demographic imbalance.

The copies of the same memorandum submitted to state CM on June 4 urging the government to take up immediate and stringent necessary steps for stopping the demographic imbalance in Manipur were also forwarded to the Prime Minister and the Union home minister on June 10 .

Key points mentioned in the memorandum were update of NRC to identify illegal immigrants and deporting them to their respective countries or initiating a specific policy for illegal immigrants without affecting interests of indigenous peoples of the land.

The memorandum also pressed for establishment of Manipur State Population Commission at the earliest so that the commission could provide valuable recommendation to the government on NRC update after collecting proper information on the issue.

While informing that scores of un-recognised villages are being set up in Manipur, the memorandum also urged the state government to prevent establishment of new villages and not to grant recognition to new villages yet to be recognised by the government.

The joint statement further said that socio-political, economy and culture of indigenous peoples of Manipur are being badly affected by the demographic imbalance while illegal immigrants are detrimental to protection of indigenous people’s identity and right of land ownership.

In view of this situation, UNC and COCOMI apprised the Prime Minister and the Union home minister through the memorandum to establish Manipur State Population Commission and update NRC so that illegal immigrants could be identified and deported.

However, there has been no response from both the state and central governments, the joint statement said and strongly urged all the members of Manipur Legislative Assembly to take a collective decision during the upcoming Monsoon Session scheduled to commence from July 25 for establishing Manipur State Population Commission.

The House should also take a decision on updating NRC based on a cut-off base year so as to identify illegal immigrants and placed the same to Government of India for taking up necessary steps to deport them.

The House should also discuss about framing a law to prevent establishment of new villages, the joint statement said and appealed to all the members of the House to take the matter seriously and arrive at a positive decision.

Mention may be made that in the memorandum submitted to chief minister Biren in June, the civil society groups urged the state government to give attention to the pressing issue related to the unregulated inflow of migrants and illegal immigrants to Manipur since 1947 .

“The influx of immigrants has threatened the native people territorially, economically and social-politically,” the two organisations had said and also alleged that a large number of illegal immigrants are continuously migrating into the state from the long porous international boundary of Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The civil society groups stated that the immigrant influx has adversely impacted the demography, social order and geographical topography which is often manifested in racial, ethnic, religious and political tensions in the state.

The illegal immigrants also claim ownership of the native land, the groups claimed.

The groups further alleged that the present social unrest, conflicts, chaos and communal tensions persisting among the diverse section of the society are closely connected to demographic imbalance and land issues.

They also cautioned that if the present situation is allowed to continue, more serious unwanted ethnic conflicts and violence is imminent in the state.

On July 15 too, the two civil bodies’ demand for implementation of NRC was backed by groups representing indigenous communities.

Organisations representing 19 tribes such as Tangkhul, Zeme, Liangmai, Aimol, Maring and Kom had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to use the NRC in Manipur for filtering foreigners out, putting them in detention centres and eventually deporting them.

The tribal organisations’ memorandum was also preceded by a similar plea by seven students’ bodies, including All Manipur Students’ Union, All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur and Manipuri Students’ Federation.

Raising questions about the “intrusion of immigrants” from Bangladesh (East Pakistan formerly), Myanmar and Nepal, the organisations recalled a pass or permit system for Manipur abolished by then Chief Commissioner Himmat Singh in November 1950 .

This permit system regulated the entry and settlement of outsiders in Manipur.

People from these three countries “autonomously settled” in the state since the abolition of the pass system and no discerning step was taken up during the last 75 years under the Foreigners Act of 1946, the organisations said, adding that such continuous overflow of influxes had led to migrants “take possession” of the socio-economic and political rights of the indigenous people.

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