Demanding the implementation of the Inner line permit in the state, seven pressure groups on Thursday organised a sit-in protest at Malki ground in Shillong.
Anti influx pressure groups have revived their long-standing demand for implementation of the inner-line permit (ILP) and setting up of entry-exit points in the state to protect the identity and rights of the indigenous tribal people.
On Thursday, the seven NGOs – Khasi Students Union (KSU), Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF), Ri Bhoi Youth Federation (RBYF), Garo Students Union (GSU), Achik Youth Welfare Organization (AYWO) and Association for Democracy and Empowerment (ADE) – organized a sit-in-demonstration at Malki ground in the heart of the city and other parts of the state, vowing to fight till the demands are achieved.
The NGOs also demanded the Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma to lead a delegation of all the 60 legislators to New Delhi to protest against the Centre’s delay to approve the resolution passed by the state Assembly for implementation of ILP in Meghalaya.
Speaking to reporters, KSU chief Lambokstarwell Marngar said today’s protest is part of the NGOs’ decision to reactivate their agitational programmes.
“If there is a further delay, it is up to the government but we have decided to intensify our agitations. There will be more surprise agitations. The ongoing pandemic will go away but we are dealing with a more serious virus that is affecting our state for the past many years,” he said.
“Therefore, we demand the Centre fulfill all the demands that include approving the ILP resolution, the inclusion of Khasi language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, and for the state to speed up setting up of the entry-exit points in the different identified locations,” he said.
Marngar said the Meghalaya Resident, Safety and Security Act (MRSSA) was passed since 2016 and yet not a single entry-exit point mandated by the act has been set up in the state due to the lack of political will on the part of the state government.
“There is a complete lack of sincerity by the government towards implementing this act. Therefore, the government should not disturb if NGOs step in to check the inflow of influx into the state,” he stated.
Asked, the KSU chief said this is not the time for the NGOs to issue deadlines and ultimatums as it is the duty of the government to protect the people of the state.
“The people in power at the secretariat are not illiterates and if NGOs have to give deadlines then it means that they are not fit to sit in the secretariat. It is the duty of each and every MLA to legislate laws to protect the people and if fail, they should pave way for others who can,” he said.
Opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Marngar said the NGOs will not accept if the state government dares to entertain the application of illegal immigrants for citizenship in Meghalaya.
“There will be bloodshed in the state if any illegal immigrants get citizenship through the act as the state does not have laws to filter those who are not genuine citizens. That is why we need effective laws like the ILP and entry-exit points to protect us from the CAA as there are many areas in Shillong which falls outside the jurisdiction of the district council,” he said.
Marngar also reiterated the demand to exempt not only Meghalaya but the entire North east region from the purview of the CAA.
On the other hand, FKJGP president, Wellbirth Rani said the government of India should take full responsibility if agitations are intensified from now onwards.
“The Union home minister Amit Shah had last year asked the MDA delegation to go back and celebrate Christmas but now it we nearing to another Christmas yet there has been no discussion on ILP. How many more Christmas do we need to get ILP,” he asked.
He said the NGOs are determined to hit the street if the Centre is disrespecting the decision of the 60 MLAs who had unanimously passed the resolution for implementation of the ILP.
“It is also our suggestion to the state government that if the Centre keep on delaying to implement ILP, the chief minister along with all the 60 MLAs should stage a protest in New Delhi against this delaying tactics,” Rani said.