New Delhi: ‘Outsiders’ entering the state of Meghalaya will now have to register with the state government which on Saturday approved the amended Meghalaya Residents, Safety and Security Act, 2016 (MRSSA), in a bid to protect the interests of its tribal citizens, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said.

The act was passed in 2016 by the-then Congress-led government to check illegal immigration, in lieu of the Inner Line Permit (ILP)

On Saturday, speaking to media, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the Act would come into effect immediately. The regularisation of the Act, he said, would be done in the next session of the state Assembly.

“Under the Act, any person who is not a resident of Meghalaya will have to furnish their documents to the government if they intend to stay in the state for more than 24 hours. This is in best interests of the non-locals as well as the people and government of Meghalaya,” the Deputy Chief Minister said.

He said that the Act was ‘completely safe’ and had been designed after consulting political parties and NGOs.

However, employees of the Central, state and District councils would be exempt from the purview of the Act.

The Deputy Chief Minister further said that the existing rules would be tweaked to make registration process simpler and to also make the process online. The violators would be liable for punishment under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), he added.

The development comes amid demand to guard against influx of non-locals in the state, following the implementation of the National Registration of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, which deckared 1.9 million people as ‘illegal immigrants’ to India.

There have also been protests in the northeastern states against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which, if implemented, locals argue, would lead to an increase in illegal immigration to the state.