Meghalaya appeals in HC on Bangladeshi settlers issue

Meghalaya government has appealed in the Meghalaya High Court challenging its ruling that people from Bangladesh who settled in the state before March 24 1971 be treated as Indians and should be enrolled in the electoral roll, Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh today said here.

Shillong: Meghalaya government has appealed in the Meghalaya High Court challenging its ruling that people from Bangladesh who settled in the state before March 24 1971 be treated as Indians and should be enrolled in the electoral roll, Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh today said here.

"The Deputy Commissioner of Ri-Bhoi district has filed an appeal in the Meghalaya High Court on its recent ruling (challenging the ruling of the Single Bench)," Lyngdoh told the Assembly while replying to a call attention motion moved by United Democratic Party (UDP) MLA T Chyne.

A single bench headed by Justice SR Sen on May 15 in its judgment said that Bangladesh nationals who settled in this northeastern state prior to March 24, 1971 should be treated as Indians and they should also be enrolled in the electoral roll, while those after, be deported to their country of origin.

Moving the call attention motion, Chyne questioned as to how would the government identify between Bangladeshis who came before and after 1971.

As the state is engulfing under the fear of influx of illegal immigrants, Chyne exudes fears that the local indigenous tribal of the state become minority in their own state.

"My election will be illegitimate if I am to be elected by foreigners," Chyne said, adding, that he will not allow himself to be elected by foreigners.

Forty people hailing from Bangladesh who settled in Amjong village along the inter-state boundary with Assam in Ri-Bhoi district had filed a petition in the High Court after their names were not included in the electoral roll and their citizenship certificates issued by the Government of India were seized by the Deputy Commissioner, Ri Bhoi district on the grounds that they are doubtful Indian citizens.

The High Court also directed the Deputy Commissioner, Ri Bhoi District to return the citizenship certificates of the petitioners within one week from the date of receipt of the order and their names accordingly be enrolled in the electoral roll before the next election.

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