Leader of Opposition and Congress Legislature Party, Dr. Mukul Sangma on Thursday met Meghalaya Governor, Satya Pal Malik to discuss Inner Line Permit (ILP) and Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA).
After meeting with the Governor Satya Pal Malik at Raj Bhavan here on Thursday, Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma told Meghalaya News 24 that the delegation has prevailed upon the governor to engage with the Government of India (GOI) and to convey the genuine apprehension of the state which culminated into the collective demand for implementation of ILP in Meghalaya after the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Sangma, also former chief minister said that the delegation has also suggested the need to recall the MRSS (Amendment) Bill, 2020 so that the MRSSA passed in 2016 can be implemented in its original form.
“We have also suggested that while we await the decision of the GOI agreeing for implementation of ILP in Meghalaya, the MRSSA which was amended and awaiting the assent of the governor be recalled so that the Act can be implemented and operationalized without further delay in its original form,” he said.
“I am of the opinion and so also my colleagues in the party and in the CLP that MRSSA if implemented in its original form immediately, will be able to address various concerns associated with the issue of influx, illegal immigration, safety and security of the citizens.”
Stating that the proposed amendment of the MRSSA will become redundant if ILP is being agreed upon to be implemented in the state, Sangma said, “The proposed amendment to MRSSA becomes redundant and infructuous because ILP will ultimately complement all other measures if implemented as per the mandate of that law can take care.”
“Therefore, it is only appropriate for the state government to recall this amendment bill and go back to the Assembly and ultimately see that the MRSSA, 2016 in its original form be operationalized without any further delay in the best interest of the state and the people,” he reiterated.
It may be mentioned here the resolution urging the Centre to implement ILP in the state was passed unanimously by the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly in December, last year.
The leader of the opposition said subsequently after adopting the resolution, a delegation was led by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his intervention but one year has gone now, nothing has happened.
“Therefore, the members of the opposition have raised this issue in the floor of the House in the recently concluded autumn session, shook the government and woken it from a deep slumber that this is an issue that is pending due to delay for consideration by GOI,” he said.
“What are you doing? Are you seriously pursuing this matter or it was just to play to the gallery and thereafter you have seen some of the civil society organizations have also started again waking up the government, shaking it from a deep slumber,” he added.
Asked whether the opening of entry points will help to check influx, Sangma said the MRSSA does not confine only to setting up of the entry-exit points as it only one part of it.
“The act, if implemented, will also ensure whoever is entering the state is appropriately provided the space to indicate their intention of entering and enable the authorities to check their credentials to filter any potential illegal immigrant,” he said.
According to him, North Eastern states have always been affected by unabated illegal immigration but the whole exercise cannot confine only to the entry-exit points.
Stating that the interstate border with Assam as well as the international border with Bangladesh is very porous, the former CM said, “The entry-exit points alone will not be able to take care of the challenges associated with the so-called influx and illegal immigration and associated challenges with this.”
“That is the reason why I said the MRSSA is more comprehensive and is effective to deal with these issues because in addition to the filtering and checking at the entry-exit points, we have various other measures whether it is in respect to deal with the issue of migrant labourers or whether it is in respect of making the citizens aware of having a data compiling of whole information as to who is staying and wherein every neighbourhood, every tenant or person who likes to reside in any rented premises or any rented house will be required to furnish information to the local police authorities and local traditional bodies like rangbah shnongs and nokmas,” he said.
He said, therefore, the MRSSA is creating this enabling platform and environment where the authorities of the government and the traditional bodies are completely involved and they are going to be aware who is staying and who is going to stay.
Asked if the BJP at the Centre is trying to politicize the ILP issue by keeping an eye on the 2023 elections in the state, Sangma however said, “I will not be able to know their mind because I have not led any delegation so far, I have expectation along with the rest of my colleagues that the government of the day, the CM and his cabinet colleagues will take all necessary measures and keeping in mind the responsibility vested upon their shoulders by virtue of being in the helm of governance and take all necessary measures to prevail upon GOI, as it is their job.”
The former CM also reminded that the MDA government has made a promise on the floor of the House, outside the House, and even in social media on numerous occasions and therefore, they must ensure they keep their promises.
“They must demonstrate their commitment and honesty to implement what they have promised in action, that is what is expected,” he said.