Night blockade continues in Meghalaya

Raju Das

SHILLONG, Sept 12 – Village councils in Umroi and Ri-Bhoi districts have lent their support to the pro-Inner Line Permit (ILP) groups and said that the travel permit would help checking influx.

At least 22 village heads meet recently and decided to support the NGOs who have been fighting with the Government for implementation of the ILP in Meghalaya.

“We have decided to support the NGOs fighting for the implementation of the ILP. It would help check influx. We are unsure if the Government mooted Tenancy Act would help control influx and illegal migrants in the State,” LR Lyngkhoi, a former village head of the area speaking on behalf of the other village heads, said.

Lyngkhoi was of the opinion that the ILP has been “successfully implemented” in the States of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland to check influx and so Meghalaya must follow the example of these States.

He moreover said that the traditional heads must be empowered by decentralising powers from the district councils so that these traditional chiefs could monitor the presence of illegal migrants in their respective jurisdiction.

The State Government has rejected the “outdated and colonial” ILP saying its efficacy in the present age is doubtful and is trying to introduce new legislations to check influx of illegal migrants into Meghalaya.

The NGOs on the other hand are on a stir and an ongoing night road blockade has disrupted night life and there have also been cases of stray violence reported from many parts of the State capital. The night road blockade that has been called from September 10 would continue till September 13 between 7 pm and 5 am on each night.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner of West Garo Hills has strongly condemned the “attack on its office and manhandling and molestation” of some of its staff by demonstrators.

“We strongly condemn the pre-meditated, pre-planned and cowardly attack on the office of the DC, West Garo Hills, Tura and office of the District Rural Development Agency, Tura,” DC Pravin Bakshi said.

The offices and the staff were attacked by protestors spearheading a movement for a separate Garo State. The plain areas have not responded to the bandh called by the demonstrators, so the members were moving to these areas when they were stopped by the district authorities yesterday. They therefore turned their ire on the DC’s office. “I am taking suo-moto notice of the assault on women employees and criminal intimidation,” Bakshi stated.