Shillong, Sep 5: Non-Congress parties in Meghalaya Thursday demanded the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system be implemented in Meghalaya to check the influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
Indians should have ILP if they wish to enter Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. State governments issue ILP under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.
The United Democratic Party (UDP), the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), the National People’s Party, the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and the Garo National Council made the demand during the all-party meet convened by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.
However, Sangma rejected the political parties’ plea, saying the government “does not suffer from bankruptcy of new ideas and would not like to piggy-ride on an outdated and colonial act to fight influx”.
Instead, the chief minister promised the political parties that his government would implement strong tenancy law and other mechanisms to curb the unabated, burgeoning influx problem.
“Since Meghalaya is protected under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution,” Sangma made a mention “about the need to strengthen the Meghalaya Land Transfer (Regulation) Act, 1971, and to crack the whip on benami transactions”.
However, HSPDP legislator Ardent Basaiawmoit countered the chief minister by saying the existing laws and mechanisms only cater to those who are already residing within the state.
“These laws have failed and will continue to fail. What is required is detecting illegal migrants from the entrance and this can be done through ILP,” Basaiawmoit added.
UDP legislator Paul Lyngdoh said the party was disappointed with the outcome of the meeting and would sit and discuss its future course of action.
“The UDP is disappointed with the outcome of the meeting as the government is not in favour of implementing ILP. We would now sit and decided on the future course of action,” Lyngdoh said.
On the other hand, the road blockade from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. is entering its second night and there have been stray incidents of violence and arrests from different parts of the state.
The road blockade was called by 10 pressure groups that include the powerful Khasi Students’ Union, the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People and the Hynniewtrep National Youth Front to mount pressure on the government to implement the ILP.
“The implementation of ILP would help protect the tribal population from being ‘annihilated’ in their own land,” Joe Marwein, spokesperson of the agitating organisations, said.