Civil society threatens to step up pro-ILP stir in Meghalaya

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SHILLONG, Feb 21 (Agencies): Members of a civil society organisation in Meghalaya on Friday threatened to intensify protest for an Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime in the state, a day after Chief Minister Conrad Sangma met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and said the Centre was examining the proposal.

Sangma had on Thursday led a delegation of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) that met Shah in New Delhi and sought ILP for the state as was in existence in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.

Inner Line Permit is an official document issued by the state government concerned to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period.

Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organization (CoMSO), an umbrella body of 15 outfits, said since the meeting with Shah did not yield a “positive outcome” its members would hit the streets again for implementation of the ILP which, in effect, would exempt the state from the purview of Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

“We are disappointed with the outcome of the state delegation’s meeting with Amit bhai. ILP existed before Independence and recently another state (Mizoram) was brought under the regime,” CoMSO chairman Robert Kharjahrin said.

The Meghalaya House had in December unanimously adopted a resolution to urge the Union government to implement the regime under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, after anti-CAA protests swept the state.

In a statement on Thursday, Sangma said during the 40 -minute meeting Shah assured the delegation that the Centre will examine the demand.

“MDA partners met Union Home Minister Amit Shah ji to urge GoI to implement ILP in the state. The honourable minister has assured that the government is examining the matter,” Sangma said. The chief minister also quoted Shah as having assured the delegation that the Centre would always protect tribal rights.

“The Constitution has provisions to protect the rights of the tribals and the Govt of India will never allow those rights to be diluted in any way. If there are any measures that would tantamount to encroachment of the tribal rights, the Govt of India will work in coordination with Meghalaya to safeguard the interest of the people,” the chief minister said, quoting Shah.

Deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong, Sports Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh, Urban Affairs Minister Hamletson Dohling and HSPDP representative Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar were part of the delegation that met Shah.

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