The question is, will you need to bring along a valid passport to cross over to another state some day soon? Right now, if you’re thinking of crossing the Assam border to a neighbouring state, you’re most likely to run into a roadblock or two. Just look at the aftermath of the NRC jhamela!
According to data from the Meghalaya Police on Monday (Sept 30) , “1,329 detected persons without proof of Indian citizenship were sent back directly to bring their documentary proof”.
Since the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on August 31, Assam’s neighbouring North Eastern states have intensified checks on people crossing state borders without proper papers, and have sent hundreds of people back to Assam.
In Meghalaya, they’re checking “valid IDs” to prove you’re the genuine Indian article, while in Mizoram, where an Inner Line Permit (ILP) is required, state government grants entry only to those whose names appear in the NRC.
DIG of the anti-infiltration and security wing of the Meghalaya Police, O Pasi, told media, “Full-fledged checking is going on. We are checking what valid documents the person has — but we are not checking NRC.”
In September, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had highlighted to Union Home Minister Amit Shah at a meeting in Guwahati that there were fears about people left out of the NRC entering Meghalaya.
To such concerns, raised by Sangma and others, Shah had said, “I want to assure both that not even one ghuspetiya (infiltrator) will be allowed to reside in Assam nor be allowed to enter into any other state. We do not want to free only Assam from infiltrators but free the entire country from intruders; and, when I say the entire country, the states of North East India are included in that.”
Last year after the draft NRC was published, the powerful Khasi Students Union (KSU) had set up check gates on their own alleging that state was not doing enough checking. Later, these check gates were withdrawn when state police intensified checks.
In Mizoram, Home Minister Lalchamliana had said in September that ILPs will not be issued to Assam residents whose names did not figure in the NRC.
The ILP is based on the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act (BEFR), 1873, and it is a special permit that is required by “outsiders” from other regions of India to enter the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
In Kolasib district, which borders Assam, police say that non-ILP holders are detained every day. Kolasib SP, Vanlalfaka Ralte, says “Our checking has intensified after the NRC publication and ILP is not issued to those from Assam who do not have names in the NRC. Everyday, 10-15 people without ILP attempting to enter Mizoram are caught. You can calculate from that the total number since September 1.”
Nagaland officials confirmed that they too have intensified checks and people from Assam are asked for proof of their names in the NRC before issuing an ILP. “If they do not have, they can give some other valid ID also. But there has been no case of suspicious people from Assam not on the NRC trying to enter Nagaland,” a senior official.
Abhijit Sinha, Principal Secretary (Home), Nagaland, admits “Our checks and monitoring have been intensified and manpower required has also been increased. Post the publication of NRC in Assam there were apprehensions that there could be movement of illegal immigrants into Nagaland. As of now, the flow has been normal.”
In an order dated September 2, Sinha had said that any entry of persons without valid documents has to be immediately brought to the notice of the district administration and that village and town authorities need to maintain strict vigil “against influx of people from outside the state in violation of the existing rules/norms.”