SHILLONG, April 3 � Meghalaya Government has ordered a magisterial inquiry to verify the genuineness of citizenship claims made by a group of families living along the Indo-Bangladesh border in East Khasi Hills district.
The inquiry was ordered after attempts to conduct a hearing here yesterday had to be called off after several students� bodies and pressure groups objected to the district administration summoning the families for the hearing alleging they were �doubtful citizens�.
�I have constituted this inquiry on the basis of the reports of the media on the presence of the families in Lyngkhat village who are not from this country. The inquiry will be headed by Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Iada Majaw,� East Khasi Hills District Election Officer Sanjay Goyal said.
A group of less than ten families living in Lyngkhat village have approached the State Government seeking voting rights after they were denied the same on the basis of claims of villagers that they were originally Bangladesh citizens.
The district administrator also said if these families are found to be not Indian citizens as per law, they will have to be deported back to their country of origin.
�We have to take appropriate action as per the law if it is established they are not from this country. We will know the details once the inquiry is completed,� Goyal said.
These families who were denied voters ID cards previously were summoned to the district headquarters after they lodged a complaint stating that they were not �heard properly� in the earlier hearings.
�Most probably, the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) EB Suja has decided to hold the hearing in Shillong to give them the opportunity to be heard. Why we are so afraid of the hearing. The hearing is not always the final hearing,� he said.
Several pressure groups including the influential Khasi Students Union and the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People had held several rounds of talks with the government demanding deletion of �doubtful� voters from the electoral rolls and also to conduct the enrollment process at the village levels.
In East Khasi Hills district, the enrolment drive for this year was very low as compared to the previous years in which three-four per cent of the total voters were enrolled. This year, we have enrolled only about 0.2 per cent which is about 1,100 new electors, Goyal said. � PTI