The United Naga Council, an apex body of Nagas in Manipur, has asked the State government to immediately start the exercise to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The BJP-led government in the State headed by Nongthombam Biren Singh has been seeking the Centre’s nod for undertaking the updating exercise like Assam, where 19.06 lakh out of 3.3 crore applicants were left out of the complete draft for the lack of documents to prove their citizenship.
“In the wake of the ever-increasing influx of illegal immigrants, the NRC is the only feasible mechanism to curb the unwarranted population invasion in Manipur. Therefore, the State government should implement the NRC at the earliest,” the UNC said in a statement.
The Naga apex body slammed the Centre for its “policy of encouraging” the inflow of people from Myanmar, pushing Manipur into a serious demographic crisis.
The organisation said it was alarming to learn about the fresh influx of 718 people from Myanmar, as reported by the Assam Rifles on July 23.
The State government should thus initiate stringent steps to curb the menace, the UNC said, while criticising the Centre for not checking the inflow of people from Myanmar.
Manipur is inhabited by three major communities — the Meiteis, the Nagas and the Kuki-Zomis. The Meitei and Naga communities are considered indigenous, while most of the Kuki-Zomi people are said to have settled from Myanmar.
One of the triggers of the Kuki-Meitei clash since May 3 has been the perception that the Kuki-Zomi people and their Chin (Myanmar) cousins have been promoting “narco-terrorism”.
Meanwhile, the Manipur government extended the timeline of the Verification and Identification Committee for identifying “illegal immigrants” from Myanmar staying in the State’s Chandel and Tengnoupal districts to September 30. The earlier deadline was March 31.
As advised by the Union Home Ministry, the State government began collecting the biometric data of people from Myanmar in July. A team of officials of the National Crime Records Bureau, deputed by the Ministry, has been assisting the State government officials in collecting the biometrics at the Foreigners’ Detention Centre at Sajiwa in the Imphal East district.
Officials in Manipur said 718 Myanmar nationals, including 301 children and 208 women, entered the Chandel district on July 22 and 23 due to the clashes between the Myanmar Army and the civil forces.
The Myanmar nationals are now staying in seven villages — Lajang, Bonse, New Samtal, New Lajang, Yangnomphai, Yangnomphai Saw Mill, and Aivomjang — in Chandel district. These villages are along the India-Myanmar border.
A report by a sub-committee of the Manipur Cabinet, headed by Tribal Affairs and Hill Development Minister Letpao Haokip, revealed in March-April that 2,187 illegal immigrants from Myanmar set up settlements in 41 locations in four districts — Tengnoupal, Chandel, Kamjong, and Churachandpur.
Mr. Haokip is one of the 10 tribal MLAs who called for a separate administration (equivalent to a separate state) for the Kuki-Zomi people following the outbreak of ethnic violence on May 3. He is a BJP legislator.