Demanding the immediate implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state, the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organizations (CoMSO) has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In its letter to the PM on Thursday, the CoMSO said, “(We) humbly requested that your good office to kindly accord approval for implementation of ILP system in the State of Meghalaya.”
It said that the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly had on December 19, last year unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Centre to implement ILP in the state under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873.
The CoMSO said the resolution moved by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma was supported by all members across party lines, including the MLAs of the BJP.
However, the resolution was forwarded to the Central Government in December 2019 and as per statements of the Chief Minister recently, it is learned that the Centre is still examining the issue till date.
It also reminded that Union Home Minister Amit Shah in his meeting with the delegation of the state led by the chief minister in February earlier this year has assured that the Government of India is examining the matter for implementation of ILP in the state.
Stating that the four states in the North-east have put in place laws and mechanisms to contain an unregulated entry of people into their states by implementing the ILP, the CoMSO said, “However, our state, which has been demanding ILP for a very long time have been denied this law and mechanism by the central government.”
“Meghalaya just like Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur is a small state where the indigenous people of the state are the minority in the context of the national population and thus it needs special protection just like the indigenous people of the other four States,” it said.
Admitting that Meghalaya is a transit state to other NE states, the CoMSO suggested that the state government may frame flexible rules to implement an ILP system so that persons using the state for transit purposes only will not be affected.
Referring to the reply of the Minister of State for Home Affairs in the Rajya Sabha on February 27, 2013, relating to the implementation of ILP in other states of the North East pertaining to the question asked by the Member of the Upper House, Sabir Ali, MP, the CoMSO said it is abundantly clear that ILP is a system specially meant for the protection of the Indigenous/tribal population in these States and also made it clear that ILP system falls within the Reasonable restriction of Article 19 (5) of the Constitution of India.
It also stated that the Gauhati High Court in the case of “North East Plains People Traders and Youth Federation v. Union of India, 2008(3) Gua LT 845” has also upheld the validity and constitutionality of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.