Mandatory registration for outsiders visiting Meghalaya

Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters in Shillong on Friday that the new provisions will, however, not be applicable for non-tribal residents, central government employees and any other officials. (Twitter/ANI)

Meghalaya cabinet cleared an ordinance on Friday to amend the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA) 2016--which will require the non-residents visiting the tribal-dominated state to register their details for stay beyond 24-hours. 

The visitors failing to register the details might invite punishment including jail terms between one to six months or fine or both.

This is being seen similar to the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in force in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh for the outside visitors. The ILP system was introduced under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873.

Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters in Shillong on Friday that the new provisions will, however, not be applicable for non-tribal residents, central government employees and any other officials.

"Be it tourists, labourers, businessmen or anyone from outside the state visiting Meghalaya for more than 24 hours will have to furnish their details. The district level task force set up to check infiltration has been entrusted to do the registration work and we are working out a system for online registration of the details," he said.

This comes amid strong demand by both political and non-political organisations to introduce ILP system in Meghalaya too fearing "infiltration" of those left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in neighbouring Assam. Over 200 persons, mainly labourers were "pushed back" to Assam since over 19.06 lakh persons were left out of the NRC in August. 

The concern deepened after home minister Amit Shah announced that the Centre would re-introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to allow "persecuted" non-Muslim migrants from Bangladedh, Pakistan and Afghanistan apply for Indian citizenship, after a stay of six months. 

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on September 9 told Shah in Guwahati that residents of Meghalaya were worried that large number of migrants could be given citizenship through the bill, posing a threat to indigenous identity of the ethnic communities. 

Tynsong said the state Assembly will regularise the ordinance by bringing in amedment in the MRSSA 2016 within six months.

The violators will face the charges under Section 176 (those liable to furnish information to government authorities)   and 177 (furnishing wrong information) of IPC. 

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