New Delhi may not approve ILP in Meghalaya

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New Delhi, December 29: Meghalaya government’s proposal to introduce Inner-line Permit (ILP) regime in the state may not get the approval of New Delhi.
The Meghalaya Assembly on December 19 adopted a resolution for implementing ILP, which will impose restrictions on the entry of ‘outsiders’ in the hill state.
The resolution was moved by chief minister Conrad K Sangma, and members across party lines, including the ruling BJP, supported it.
The one day special session was conducted on December 19 to pass the resolution in view of the demand by the indigenous people of the state for implementation of the ILP.
During the last few decades, pressure groups, mostly students unions and youth organizations, have been demanding for ILP in Meghalaya.
After the resolution by the assembly, the Meghalaya government urged New Delhi to implement ILP under the Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation, 1873, in the state.
High-level sources in New Delhi told Northeast Now on Saturday that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has no immediate plans to introduce ILP in Meghalaya.
The ILP regime was extended to Manipur on December 11 with President Ram Nath Kovind signing the order.
A notification in this regard was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The sources said the Ministry of Home Affairs, taking into account the prospect of growth of the tourism sector, is yet to decide on Meghalaya government’s proposal for introduction of ILP.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs are reportedly still indecisive on the ILP demand in Meghalaya.
The MHA officials are reportedly of the opinion that since entire Meghalaya were never covered by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 even during the British era, so question of introduction of ILP in the state does not arise now.
At present, ILP is applicable in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.
It is also being argued that since Meghalaya is a Sixth Schedule state, the need for implementation of ILP “to safeguard and protect the rights of the indigenous people” does not arise.
Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy’s delay in giving assent to the ordinance amending the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016 was also an indicator that New Delhi was not in favour of restricting movement of “outsiders” in the state.
Moreover, Meghalaya is a “transit state”, and people travelling by road to Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur and even Barak Valley in South Assam pass through the state.
And if ILP is introduced in Meghalaya, there would be major complications for the transit passengers.
Meanwhile, intelligence agencies have also reported that the NPP-led government had adopted the resolution to calm people’s ire after MP from Tura Agatha K. Sangma had voted in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Since the onus is now on the Centre to introduce ILP in Meghalaya, pressure groups of Meghalaya have vowed to continue with their movement.
On the other hand, people who are directly or indirectly involved in tourism business in Meghalaya, are not happy with the government’s decision to introduce ILP as it is going to kill the tourism industry. (NE Now)