ILP issue in Meghalaya re-emerges

Shillong: Civil society organizations in Meghalaya demanding the implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state are losing their patience as the Mukul Sangma government fails to come up with its assured 'comprehensive mechanism.’

The conglomerate of 13 organisations have been demanding for the implementation of ILP to control influx of illegal immigrants in Meghalaya. Bandhs and other forms of agitation were carried out in the recent past in phase wise manner. However, in the past two months the agitations have stopped, following the Meghalaya government's assurance to have a 'comprehensive mechanism' to deal illegal immigrants and inter-state influx.

Meanwhile, sources said that it may take the Mukul Sangma government in Meghalaya several months to come out with its version of Inner Line Permit (ILP), which many termed as the 'comprehensive mechanism' or 'modified' Inner Line Permit (ILP).

The sources said that the Meghalaya government may not be able to come out with the ILP mechanism by October this year with its version of the ILP to be presented before the NGOs of the state.

In the crucial meeting between the Mukul Sangma government and the agitating 13 organisations of Meghalaya on April 29, it was agreed that a modified kind of Inner Line Permit is likely to be implemented in Meghalaya. The 13 pressure groups had submitted a lengthy suggestion to the government during the meeting last month. The Meghalaya government will study the suggestion of the pressure groups and call another meeting.

Former Khasi Students Union (KSU) president and now chairman of NESO, Samuel Jyrwa told Newmai News Network this evening that it would be better if the state government of Meghalaya can complete it as soon as possible. Earlier in April, many had expressed that a mechanism would be formulated which was going to be better than the Inner Line Permit (ILP).

Since December 17 last year, the civil society organisations of Meghalaya have been lying low after they had relaxed their agitations in view of Christmas season.

The KSU and other 12 organisations are spearheading the demand for immediate implementation of their demand that ought to be incorporated in the existing Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation Act, 1873 to tackle and prevent inflow of illegal influx into the state.

It  may be mentioned here, series of agitational programmes from bandhs, office picketing and road blockades have been sponsored by the groups for the past three months pressurizing the state government to implement the ILP system which was as per the recommendation of the High Level Committee on Influx headed by the then Deputy Chief Minister Bindo M Lanong.

However, the state government had rejected the ILP outright citing that it is not effective enough to address the problem of influx and had instead proposed to introduce the Meghalaya Regulation of Landlords and Verification of Tenants Bill which the public consultations on the draft is still on the process.

The NGOs had also vowed to take the movement for demanding the implementation of the Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation Act, 1873 which is a strong and effective law that can prevent illegal influx from entering the state to its logical end.

Mentionably, during the agitations last year, two lives were claimed and about 71 pro-ILP activists were arrested in connection with the 86 cases related to arsons and others besides murder.  While majority of them were booked under Meghalaya Maintenance of Public Order (MMPO) Act, few were detained under the Meghalaya Prevention of Detention Act (MPDA).