The Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations has warned of law and order issues if the Centre ‘does not listen to the voices of the people’ seeking entry restrictions
An umbrella organisation of NGOs in Meghalaya has asked the State’s three MPs and all 60 MLAs to unite for the implementation of the Inner-Line Permit (ILP) and hit the streets of New Delhi together, if need be.
Implemented under the British-era Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, the ILP is an official document issued to let an Indian citizen enter a protected area for a limited period. Pressure groups in the northeast view this permit as a shield against the entry of illegal immigrants.
The Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO) said MLAs of the ruling coalition headed by the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Opposition Congress should leave aside their political rivalry for the 2023 Assembly election for the greater interest of the State.
“Election-oriented political rivalry is understandable. But they must unite on important issues such as ILP, protection and recognition of language and border disputes,” CoMSO chairman Robertjune Kharjahrin said on Thursday.
“We appeal to all the three MPs of Meghalaya to please raise the issue and see how the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister respond to it,” he said.
Meghalaya has two Lok Sabha members – Agatha K. Sangma of the NPP and Vincent H. Pala of the Congress. The lone Rajya Sabha member is Wanweiroy Kharlukhi of the NPP.
The CoMSO said all the 60 MLAs of the State, who had passed the ILP resolution unanimously, should pursue the matter with the Centre and stage protests in New Delhi.
“It is the duty of all legislators to go to the national capital and agitate. They must make it clear that Meghalaya wants ILP and the Centre should take up the matter at the earliest,” Mr. Kharjahrin said.
The CoMSO also warned of law and order issues in Meghalaya if the Centre “fails to listen to the voices of the people and respect their sentiments”.
Mr. Kharjahrin said the Centre showed its political will for Manipur where ILP was implemented from January 1, 2020. “If they can gift ILP to Manipur, why is Meghalaya being ignored,” he asked.
Manipur was the fourth State in the northeast where ILP was implemented. The other three where the entry permit has been in place for decades are Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
The pro-ILP demand in Meghalaya has often turned violent. At least three people were killed in violence related to this demand over the past 12 months.