Agitation over illegal migrants in Meghalaya suspended

Shillong, Jan 15: Thirteen pressure groups in Meghalaya Wednesday announced the suspension of their agitation demanding the re-introduction of the British-era Inner Line Permit (ILP) system to tackle the influx of illegal Bangladeshi migrants.

The declaration came after a meeting with Chief Minister Mukul Sangma who offered the examination of 52 existing laws connected with the issue of tackling influx and illegal migration to the state.

The last meeting held Aug 29 last year between the two sides had failed, leading to a series of violent agitations.

“There has been an agreement to study the 52 existing laws on tackling influx and illegal migrants. We have also decided to suspend all agitation during this period,” Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) chief Daniel Khyriem told journalists.

However, Khyriem said the groups have not abandoned the demand for implementation of the ILP in the state.

“We have sought clarification from the government as to why the permit cannot be implemented in Meghalaya,” he said.

The 13 organisations include the Federation of Khasi, Jaintia, Garo People and the Hynniewtrep National Youth Front.

They say the absence of the ILP system would lead to the number of people entering Meghalaya getting out of control, given the state’s proximity to Bangladesh and Assam.

The ILP is an official travel document issued by the union government to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected/restricted area for a limited period.

It is obligatory for Indian citizens from outside those states to obtain permit for entering into the restricted areas.

Chief Minister Sangma said the government and the pressure groups stressed the need to find a way forward in coming up with an institutionalised mechanism to tackle influx.

“We have ensured that we have a way forward towards addressing the contentious issue relating to influx and illegal immigration in the state,” Sangma said.

IANS