Shillong, Sep 19: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has ruled out implementation of the British-era innerline permit system — which requires people to secure a licence if they wish to enter a restricted area — to check illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
State governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram issue the innerline permit (ILP) under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
Sangma promised to implement strict laws to curb the burgeoning infiltration of illegal immigrants.
“The state government will go ahead with its decision to implement the comprehensive mechanism that is the Tenancy Act to help us address the influx problem,” Sangma told journalists late Wednesday.
“It is not for the state government to implement the ILP. It is something which can’t be implemented by the state government. The matter lies with the union government,” he said.
Sangma said his government was looking at other options, including appointment of labour officers and strengthening of the Directorate of Infiltration, to address the issue of illegal migrants.
“We are taking initiatives to put in place a mechanism that will ensure that illegal influx is checked,” the chief minister said.
He said the draft Tenancy Act will be completed soon and stakeholders will be invited for their suggestions and opinions on the matter.
Sangma ruled out talks with 10 social organisations who have launched an agitation demanding the implementation of ILP in Meghalaya.
The chief minister also hinted at a ban on shutdowns and other forms of agitation.
The 10 organisations, including the Khasi Students’ Union, the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People and the Hynniewtrep National Youth Front, have called for a 12-hour shutdown Friday to put pressure on the government to implement the ILP.
The organisations are demanding introduction of the innerline permit, saying the number of people entering Meghalaya might go out of control, given the state’s proximity to Bangladesh.
“The implementation of the ILP would help protect the tribal population from being annihilated in their own land,” said Joe Marwein, spokesperson of the agitating groups.