Meghalaya Special court begins proceedings against pro-ILP

A special court today began proceedings against leaders of 14 pro-Inner Line Permit pressure groups demanding implementation of the ILP for violation of the Supreme Court ruling against shutdowns.

The Civil Society Women's Organisation, which withdrew support to the pro-Inner Line Permit groups, appeared before the court of M Rymbai, which was constituted last month.

CSWO President Agnes Kharshiing and General Secretary W Thabah who appeared in person were directed by the court to appoint a legal counsel and file a written statement on their own behalf.

The damage suit was filed by B Khongwir, the Political Department Under Secretary.

He stated that the government incurred Rs 31.09 crore during bandhs, picketing and blockades called by the pro-ILP groups since September 2 which affected the normal functioning of government and businesses.

Criminal acts such as arson and violence also took place, he stated.

The front organisations of pro-ILP organisations like the Khasi Students Union, the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People and the Hynniewtrep National Youth Front and 11 others were charged with sponsoring the shutdowns, picketing and blockades which the government said were unconstitutional and illegal.

The pro-ILP groups were demanding implementation of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations Act, 1873 which facilitated restricted entry of outsiders to the state as was the case in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

None of the pro-ILP group leaders turn up at the hearing on the first day.

Altogether 71 activists were arrested and 86 criminal cases were registered against them which included arson, murder, attempt to murder and other violent acts.