CoMSO observes ‘black flag day’ ** ILP is the only solution to address the influx issue: Kharbani
SHILLONG, April 23 (Newmai):Tuesday saw black flags flying across Meghalaya as the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO) staged a statewide black flag protest against what it has termed as the state government’s adamant attitude towards its demand for the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.
In Shillong, activists were seen putting up black flags and banners in the two main commercial areas – Motphran and Khyndailad amid tight security. Vehicles plying in the city were also distributed with black flags besides pinning of the same on people.
However, when police removed and seized the black flags put up on the railing of the rotary at Khyndailad while maintaining that this is government property, leaders of the confederation were seen confronting an officer to return the flags.
“The black flag day is just the beginning of our agitation to pressurise the state government to implement the ILP system in the whole state,” CoMSO vice chairman and president of the Hynniewtrep Achik National Movement (HANM) Lamphrang Kharbani informed at the sidelines of the protest.
Stating that the ILP is the only solution to address the influx issue, Kharbani said the confederation is determined to further intensify its agitations if the state government fails to pay any heed to this long pending demand for protection of the indigenous communities of the state.
CoMSO general secretary and leader of the Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) Roy Kupar Synrem said the confederation has also demanded that the Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma convenes a meeting of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) besides a Cabinet meeting to take the views and opinions of all the coalition partners, especially the regional political parties as well as the Cabinet Ministers on whether they want ILP.
Synrem said that the contradictory statements made by the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong have created a lot of confusion. He added to this by saying that “while the Chief Minister says that we should not make ILP an issue, his deputy on the other hand, had assured that the government is committed to implement the ILP”. Tynsong had also informed on Monday that the proposed amendment to the Meghalaya Resident Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016 is to have an ILP-like mechanism in place.
“We are not concerned whether the government implements the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 or brings its own law but our main concern is that the spirit of the ILP should be incorporated in any legislation proposed by the government to address the influx issue,” Synrem said while adding, “Therefore, the government should ensure that outsiders entering the state should obtain permit, their period of stay should not be more than 179 days and those without permit should be penalized.”
The HYC leader said that the regional parties like the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), People’s Democratic Front (PDF) and United Democratic Party (UDP) during elections had assured the people of the state to implement the ILP system. “However, one year has passed, but we yet to see these same parties which are now in government, put their statements into action,” he asserted.
“Therefore, we strongly demand that the regional parties come out clear whether they are for the indigenous people or for their own personal interests,” Synrem said.