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Deadlock ends after four months

  • Pro-ILP pressure groups to study 52 laws on influx    Agitation suspended

ILP group

SHILLONG: The four-month-long standoff between the State Government and the pro-ILP pressure groups over the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya has finally come to an end.

The stalemate witnessed a breakthrough on Wednesday when the pro-ILP pressure groups decided to accept the State Government’s proposal to examine fifty-two existing laws dealing with the issue of influx during a crucial meeting held at the conference room of the Main Secretariat.

The meeting had been convened by Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma in an attempt to break the deadlock that has, over the past four months, kept the State on tenterhooks.

Emerging from the meeting, a visibly satisfied Chief Minister said he was happy that the ball has been set rolling towards addressing the contentious issues relating to influx and entry of illegal immigrants.

Dr. Sangma informed that the pressure groups have agreed to study the various laws that are already in existence.

“The contention of the government is that it is going to look at how the existing laws can be integrated and supplemented so as to arrive at an institutionalized mechanism to tackle the issue of influx and illegal immigration.”

Dr. Sangma informed that the concerned departments would compile the existing laws and their copies would be would be made available to the pressure groups.

“We haven’t set any kind of time frame to provide the copies of the existing laws to the pressure groups. These would be made available as and when they are ready,” he said, adding, “We will continue to engage with the pressure groups to find a way forward towards an ultimate end result.”

Despite claims by the pro-ILP groups that they stand firm on their demand for implementation of the ILP in the State, the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting indicates otherwise.

The pro-ILP pressure groups have definitely ‘softened’ their stand since earlier they had maintained that they would not settle for anything less than the ILP and had also stated that any dialogue with the Government would only revolve around the issue of ILP.

Following the meeting, the pro-ILP pressure groups have also decided to suspend all agitation till the time they complete the exercise of studying as many as fifty-two existing laws on the subject of influx.

“We have agreed to study and examine 52 existing laws dealing with the issue of influx. The Government has agreed to provide us with copies of the various laws,” KSU president Daniel Khyriem said after the meeting.

He said the pressure groups would first meet among themselves and later hold a joint meeting to discuss on the outcome of the talks with the State Government. The KSU president, however, insisted that their demand for implementation of the ILP still stands since the meeting remained ‘inconclusive’.

“During the meeting, the Government cited various reasons explaining why ILP would be detrimental to the State. But we are not satisfied with the arguments given by the Government,” Khyriem said.

Meanwhile, Khyriem informed that they would hold another meeting with the Government after studying the various laws related to the influx issue.

“We would take a final call depending on the outcome of the next meeting,” he said.

HNYF general secretary Sadon K Blah also maintained that they have not gone soft on their demand for implementation of ILP in the State.

“The State needs to formulate its own rules for implementation of the ILP,” said Blah, adding, “Section 4 of the Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation, 1873, provides scope for integration and incorporation of rules as per the local needs of the State.”

“We will study the 52 existing laws and decide on the best rule which would be helpful in tackling the problem of influx and suggest the same to the Government,” Blah said.

FKJGP president Joe Marwein said the pressure groups would like to have a system of ILP which would not hinder the growth and development in the State including tourism.

Speaking about the fate of the arrested ILP activists, Khyriem said the Government was examining the matter.

“We are hopeful that the activists of various pressure groups who have been arrested would be released at the earliest,” the KSU president said.

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