More voices protest CM’s work permit idea for Bangladeshis

Tura, April 6: More NGOs from Garo Hills today joined in the clamour against the statement of the Meghalaya chief minister, Conrad Sangma for his suggestion of issuing work permits to people from Bangladesh as a way of solving the problem of illegal infiltration.

The Association for Democracy and Empowerment (ADE), the Achik Youth Council and the Achik Youth Welfare Organization (AYWO) in three separate statements today made it clear what they thought about the proposal of the CM on the matter.

Conrad had earlier proposed the idea of issuing work permits to Bangladeshis to solve the matter of illegal infiltration which met with immediate opposition from all quarters.

“We vehemently denounce this proposal and request the government to abstain from such suicidal approach. This proposal will defeat the ‘purpose’ which has been maintained for so long by ADE and other NGOs in the state against influx and in favor of the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP). Instead of ILP, previous Government of the state promised the NGOs of Meghalaya that a comprehensive mechanism to check influx would be set up but nothing concrete has been done on the ground,” said president of ADE, Dalseng Bira Ch Momin.

“Instead of pressurizing the centre to enforce a stringent law to contain influx and also to resolve the border disputes at the earliest, the government led by Conrad Sangma is of the idea of welcoming people from outside the country to work in the state,” said a caustic ADE president.

Momin also stated that the modus operandi of Bangladeshi nationals was to overstay and try and marry a local woman to be a part of India.

“We want to remind the CM that he and his political friends were elected by the people of Meghalaya and not by Bangladeshis. So why this soft corner for outsiders,” asked Silkam Marak, the AYWO chief organizing secretary, while adding that the government should look at the implementation of ILP instead of trying to cut corners.

“They should focus on pro tribal policies for the state like setting up Entry/Exit points all over Meghalaya to contain the illegal inflow of outsiders into Meghalaya, the effective implementation of Land Transfer Act 1972, check all benami transactions and implementation of Meghalaya Benami Transaction Act, Meghalaya Residential Bill and work a way out from this unending sufferings of our people and respect the peoples’ mandate,” he added.

The AYC while expressing similar angst against the suggestion spoke of the employment problems in the state which is likely to be compounded if the CM’s suggestion of work permits to Bangladeshi nationals were to be implemented.

“We already have a huge issue with unemployment within the state and there is frustration amongst people on the issue. Allowing foreign nationals a work permit will make the matter worse. The suggestion itself is highly condemnable,” said AYC president, Silning D Sangma, something that was echoed in all three releases of the NGOs.

The growth of crime was also hit upon by AYC who felt that the idea of a work permit was an open invitation for kidnappings, murders, rape and the like if such an idea were to fructify.

There should be concrete resolute mechanism to check influx, illegal immigration and other international unlawful activities in the state,” felt AYC.