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Division in MDA over ILP

Sanbor wants discussion, James harps on Safety Act

SHILLONG: Division within the MDA coalition over the issue of Inner Line Permit (ILP) has come to the fore with the BJP insisting discussion on the matter while NPP leadership is keen on amending the Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act to check influx.
Extending support to the demand, BJP MLA Sanbor Shullai said the state government should discuss ILP.
The demand for ILP was renewed with the members of the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO) threatening to intensify the agitations after the recent Black Flag Day protest if the government does not implement ILP in the entire state.
They wanted the MDA government and the cabinet to discuss the matter.
However, Home Minister James Sangma said there should not be any reason for agitations as the government is committed to amend the Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act to check influx.
“What we are concerned is the goal to achieve the result of containing influx and the means of the achieving it can be many including the entry-exit point and the amended Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act”, Sangma said.
According to Sangma, there is no reason for the pressure groups to agitate as the government is concerned over the matter and committed to ensure a strong mechanism to deal with influx.
Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong had also said the Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act will be amended to incorporate the provisions of ILP in the Act.
However, speaking to a section of the press on Thursday, Shullai who is also a former member of FKJGP, rued, “ILP is a long pending demand of the people. The state is in dire need of ILP as we are only a handful tribal community.
But I fail to understand that we choose to agitate after we have tolerated and seen large scale influx. Other states have implemented ILP for a very long time. Why didn’t we implement ILP since 1972?” he said.
According to him, illegal immigrants could have been detected if ILP was implemented and criticised that the former leaders of the state did not have a clear vision of the threat of influx to the communities.
“Come what may, we have to support the demand for ILP. It will help. Look at the borders, the entry of immigrants is threatening,” he said.
Commenting on the infiltration check gate in Byrnihat, Shullai said the existing infiltration check gate at Byrnihat should be strengthened to check influx.
“Even in the border areas, the entry and exit points should be strengthened. These areas, be it in Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills, need to be sealed completely and check gates should not be only in Byrnihat,” he said.
When pointed that the chief minister is not in favour of ILP, he said there has to be discussion on the matter at length by the government.

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