Shillong, May 7: On the eve of the all-party meeting tomorrow, a conglomerate of social organisations today demanded enrolment of “bona fide” residents only.
In a petition to Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M. Sangma and all heads of political parties, the groups, under the umbrella of the Social Organisations of Meghalaya Against Land Alienation (Somala), said: “All persons who acquired land in Meghalaya in contravention of the provisions of the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act, 1971, are not legal holders as they violate Section 3 (3) of the act, which lays down that such land shall be void and not enforceable in any court of law.”
Convener of the umbrella organisation W. Anthony said: “In such circumstances, there is no justification for the illegal residents of Meghalaya to be enrolled as voters, and accordingly, names of such illegal residents of Meghalaya must be deleted from the electoral rolls of the state.”
Anthony pleaded that all people above 18 years who settled in Meghalaya for any period of time in contravention of the provisions of the act cannot be given the benefit of enrolment as they violate local land laws.
“It is also contrary to the principles of protection and economic growth of the indigenous people, within the scheduled area as mandated by the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution,” he said.
Anthony further noted that the number of voters in 2008 stood at 12.33 lakh and may have included persons who have exercised their voting right.
“New voters who have not exercised their voting right previously may now be subjected to fresh scrutiny. If they fall in the category of ‘bonafide Meghalayan’, their names may be enrolled while the rest should be deleted,” Anthony said.
Somala is a conglomerate of organisations that include Ri Bhoi Youth Federation, Hynniewtrep Indigenous Women’s Society, Jaintia Youth Federation, Jaintia Students’ Union, Civil Society Women’s Organisation, All India Garo Union and others.
The all-party meeting is scheduled to be held tomorrow to discuss the voter registration imbroglio as social organisations like the Khasi Students’ Union, Federation of Khasi-Jaintia and Garo People and the Hynniewtrep National Youth Front have demanded immediate suspension of enrolment of voters.
According to statistics available with the state election authorities, at present there are 13.75 lakh voters in the state. The projected voters on the basis of census population stand at 14.9 lakh leaving a deficit of 1.15 lakh.