Shillong, Aug. 10: In the face of alleged unabated influx into this hill state, Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today favoured an effective border management system rather than the introduction of the inner-line permit (ILP) system to curb the menace.
“Will you presume that all those people who are determined to infiltrate into the state will always come to the main checkgate? They will find their way. ILP will be only in those areas where vehicles will come,” Sangma told reporters at the state secretariat here.
Citing an example, he said, “If I am trying to enter Meghalaya as an illegal immigrant or as an intruder or for criminal activities, I will cleverly plan my itinerary on how to avoid those areas (where check points exist). What we need is a mechanism to have a complete mapping of people staying in each and every locality. This is what we are planning to do. It is a much more effective mechanism than ILP.”
Stressing the need for an effective border management system, the chief minister said in spite of the BSF’s vigil, people did manage to cross the border. “You have the border being guarded by the BSF. But in spite of that, people sometimes manage to cross the border. Where are these militant and insurgent organisations getting the arms? Arms are not manufactured in Meghalaya or Assam. They (arms) are obviously being smuggled and transported across the international border.”
Therefore, he said, a more effective border management system was the need of the hour.
“Although we have seen certain positive signs today, guarding the borders should be much more stringent,” Sangma added. The chief minister seemed to lose his cool when asked how serious influx in Meghalaya is.
“Why do you ask this question? Do you mean that I will say that this problem is not serious? Why would I then sanction 39 labour inspectors overnight? Why should I decide to have a directorate on infiltration? It is always necessary to be far-sighted. It (issue of influx) deserves attention irrespective of the quantum of the problem. I do not want to quantify the problem,” Sangma said.
He said the police department was still working on the directorate of infiltration before it becomes a reality.
Stating that the issue of influx was not new for the Northeast, Sangma said, “When you disturb the demography by bringing in more people belonging to your own community from outside, you create a situation whereby eyebrows are raised and a sense of doubt starts growing among the indigenous people.”
Sangma said he has spoken to chief ministers of the other states in the region on the issue.
“It is a complex problem, and it will require much more proactive engagement to come to a solution,” Sangma added.
Stating that it was important to reach out to other communities, he said, “There is a tendency to brush certain communities with the same colour. This is something wrong. Therefore, what I am suggesting is that there needs to be a complete proactive engagement of all stakeholders with the intention of addressing this important issue. We should also reach out to those communities that are otherwise considered as non-indigenous so that they become partners in addressing this issue.”