After a brief lull, dissent over ILP is simmering again in Meghalaya
The votaries for ILP allege that the Centre had no political will to implement the permit regime.Updated: Nov 19, 2020, 15:00 IST
Blaming the government over its alleged failure to contain influx of outsiders into the state, several groups in Meghalaya have on Wednesday evening announced a series of agitational programs starting November 27 with a black flag protest by all its members. This will be followed by a sit-in protest in all district headquarters of the state on December 4.
Demanding immediate implementation of the contentious Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya, the groups intend to also mount pressure on the Central Government.
A detailed meeting of the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organizations (CoMSO) comprising of 14 pressure groups was held at the North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) campus following which the chairman of the confederation, Robertjune Kharjahrin said, “We demand the Centre to immediately implement the ILP in the whole of Meghalaya and for the state government to re-introduce the Meghalaya residents, safety and security (amendment) bill, 2020, which was recently returned by the governor.”
In November 2019, the state Cabinet had passed an ordinance amending the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016, which would require visitors to register, akin to an ILP regime. This had eased the tension a bit but now the same is simmering to the brim.
Kharjahrin today stressed that New Delhi has to respect the resolution passed by the state legislative assembly with regards to introducing a strong and effective law like the ILP. “The delay in implementing the ILP is a clear indication that there is total lack of political will on the part of the Centre and not that it needs time to examine the proposal,” he asserted.
Expressing amazement that though CM Conrad Sangma and his deputy Prestone Tynsong along with state PHE minister Renikton Tongkhar had called on Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, yet no mention was made whether ILP was discussed or not, the CoMSO chief further demanded that the state government and all 60 legislators should aggressively pursue with the Centre for immediate implementation of the ILP.
Notably, the cry for ILP grew louder after the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) with a series of agitations affecting normalcy in this predominantly tribal state, leading to prohibitory orders and even suspension of internet services, a rare occurrence in this hill station. Most of Meghalaya comes under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, hence, exempted from the CAA.
The state government was virtually steamrolled into adopting a resolution in the state legislative assembly on December 20, 2019, urging the central government to bring Meghalaya under the colonial-era regime.
The resolution introduced by chief minister Conrad K Sangma was voted in favour of by all 60 legislators cutting across party lines in a day-long special session of the house while pressure groups continued demonstrating outside demanding immediate implementation of ILP, a decision that now still awaits the Central nod. EOM