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KSU detects ‘infiltrators’

- Busloads of people bound for mines sent back

Shillong, July 29: Hundreds of alleged “infiltrators”, who were on their way to the coal-mining belt of Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills district and Silchar in Assam, were detected last evening by Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) activists near the city.

This incident has raised questions about the fate and implementation of the much talked about anti-infiltration directorate, which was promised last year by the Meghalaya government.

Last evening, KSU activists first detected a night super bus carrying Nepali citizens, including women and children, near the municipal waste dumping yard at Marten on the Guwahati-Shillong Road. According to the activists, the people inside the bus (WB-73-C-2444), around 80 of them, did not have proper documents to ascertain their claims that they were Indian nationals.

The bus driver’s version was that the passengers were supposed to dismount near Anjalee cinema hall here, creating suspicion in the minds of the KSU activists as night super buses usually disembark passengers at the Polo parking lot.

When some activists enquired about the passengers, they were told that their destination was Lad Rymbai, a coal mining area in Jaintia Hills.

Soon after, on the same route, the activists detected another bus, which was on its way to Silchar in Assam, and similar events unfolded.

The activists told the passengers in both the buses to return to Guwahati with a warning never to come back again.

KSU Mawlai circle publicity secretary Artis Ryntathiang said the union started upping its vigil on night super buses coming to the city in the aftermath of the BTAD clashes suspecting that immigrants who were affected by the violence have started trickling in to Meghalaya.

For years now, the KSU and other pressure groups have been conducting such inspections to stop alleged infiltrators, travelling without proper documents, to enter the state.

Last year, after several pressure groups agitated to press for strong measures to tackle influx, the state government had promised to come up with an anti-infiltration directorate. The mandate of the directorate, which would be under the home department, was to put a check on influx both at the international and inter-state borders.

Chief minister Mukul Sangma had stated that the directorate, which will replace the existing infiltration branch of the police department, would be made functional soon.

At present, the major infiltration checkgates are located at Byrnihat in Ri Bhoi district and Umkiang in Jaintia Hills.

Recently, when asked about the fate of the directorate, state home minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh said it would be made functional “very soon”.

In 2010, the chief minister said the government would bring a legislation to empower the community in curbing influx, adding that necessary mechanisms would be incorporated within the legislation to thwart abuse of power by the community members while dealing with influx.