Shillong: Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday assured an apex body of over 17 organisations that he along with Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma would soon go to Delhi to urge Home Minister Amit Shah to implement the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system across the state.
If the ILP is enforced in entire Meghalaya, the hill state, like other four northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur, would keep itself out of the purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
The Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO), an umbrella body of more than 17 organisations, which has been spearheading the agitation since last year for the introduction of ILP in the remaining part of the state, on Friday held sit-in demonstrations in all the 11 districts and in some sub-divisional headquarters besides in the capital city of Shillong.
After the state-wide demonstrations, a delegation of CoMSO led by its Secretary Roy Kupar Synrem met the Governor and sought his urgent intervention to implement the ILP by the Centre in the remaining part of the state.
“The Governor has assured us that he along with the Chief Minister would soon go to Delhi to meet the Union Home Minister Amit Shah and request the Central government to promulgate the ILP in Meghalaya,” Synrem told the media.
He said: “We have apprised the Governor about the urgent need of ILP in Meghalaya. We have also urged the Governor to approve the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which was passed by the state Assembly long back.”
“Conrad Sangma prove yourself that you can lead Meghalaya to the ILP regime, if not please step down,” said one of the banners displayed at Friday’s agitation.
The CoMSO, after several months of silence due to the Covid-19 induced situations, resumed its stir on November 27 by holding black flag protests across Meghalaya.
“We have been asking all the 60 Meghalaya MLAs and three MPs of the state to hold sit-in demonstrations in Delhi to ensure that the ILP is enforced in the state soon,” Synrem told IANS over phone.
He said: “Even though the Meghalaya Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution on December 19 last year, the Home Ministry is yet to take appropriate steps to enforce the ILP in the remaining part of the state.”
The CoMSO leader warned the National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government that if the ILP was not implemented in the next few months, there would be more protests across the state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party with two MLAs is part of the MDA government in the state and one of the legislators Alexander Laloo Hek is the Health Minister.
The ILP under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 was in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram. On December 11 last year it was promulgated in Manipur, to allow for inward travel of an Indian citizen into the ILP enforced areas for a stipulated period with the written permission of the state authority.
To visit the ILP-governed states, foreign nationals and even people from other states of India, now need to take a permit.
The main aim of the ILP system is to check settlement of other Indian nationals in these states to protect the native population. There are also protection extended to indigenous people with regard to land, jobs and other facilities.
The ILP is currently issued for a minimum of 15 days and maximum one year, depending on the applicant’s purpose and necessity.
The Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland governments are issuing the ILP through the online process to facilitate any Indian to obtain this from anywhere in the country.
The central government had earlier announced that the CAA would not apply to the ILP and the Tribal Autonomous District Council (TADC) areas.
In the northeastern states there are 10 TADCs, constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. While Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram have three TADCs each, Tripura has one.
All eight northeastern states and neighbouring West Bengal witnessed violent protests for many weeks last year and early this year against the CAA.
Notified on January 10, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA) seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who have migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, after facing faith-based persecution.