Shillong: Ten political and social groups in Meghalaya on Sunday claimed that illegal Bangladeshi migrants enter the state after obtaining proof of "Indian citizenship" from Assam and urged President Pranab Mukherjee to ask the state government to implement the inner line permit system.
In an open letter to Mukherjee, ahead of his two-day visit to Meghalaya beginning on Monday, the groups said: "After obtaining any documents of proof that they are Indian citizens, they freely enter Meghalaya whereas there is no authority to verify" the documents.
The ten organisations issuing the open letter include the Khasi Students' Union, the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia, Garo People and the Hynniewtrep National Youth Front.
They also urged the president to direct the Meghalaya government to implement the British-era Inner Line Permit (ILP) system to tackle the issue.
They claimed that Meghalaya is entertaining any document of proof of citizenship issued by Assam panchayats or other documents obtained from Assam government to enable the migrants and a floating population to get enrolled in the voters' list without any verification.
"We feel that there is an evil design of vested interests including the politicians and political parties to ensure their votebanks by creating a conducive atmosphere for the migrants of doubtful identity to get themselves enrolled in the voters' list of Meghalaya," the letter read.
Exhorting Mukherjee to refer to a report sent by then Assam governor S.K. Sinha to then President K.R. Narayanan in 1998 to know the realities of the situation, the groups said that the issue of influx and migration is one "which is breathing life into many agitations and militancy" in the northeast.
"Meghalaya being a comparatively peaceful state in northeast, we also want to continue with that culture of peace and Indianness, but we also have to be cautious before we also reach the stage of Assam, Sikkim and Tripura. We have to be cautious on the fact that influx and migration into our state is real and threatening," their letter said.
They said that "illegal migrants" have dared to name a locality in the heart of Shillong as "Bangladesh Colony".