SHILLONG | Dec 21:

Former Governor of Meghalaya, Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary has termed the demand for implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) under the Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation, 1873 as an “emotional issue” which aimed to put restrictions on people from entering any States in India.

“In the modern age, the way to develop is to interact with each other and also to be part of the mainstream. It is very difficult to develop in isolation. If we think of economic development and the spirit of competiveness then you have got to be part of the main stream. By having ILP you are keeping yourself in isolation,” Mooshahary told reporters on the sideline of the passing out parade of the 46th batch course at the North East Police Academy, Umiam here today.

According to him, Meghalaya and Assam have got the Sixth Scheduled areas which provides the indigenous community the right over land which is very critical. “In that context, do you need another ILP to restrict people from trade and commerce and other social interaction? Therefore, it is important for people to understand the issue properly,” the former Governor of Meghalaya said.

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Talking about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, he said that the cut off date as per the Act for people to be eligible to obtain Indian citizenship is 31st December 2014. “This means that only those people who are already here they would be given Indian Citizenship. It does not assured citizenship on the Bangladeshi who will be entering now. We are not sure how many people like this are there in Meghalaya, Assam or anywhere in the Northeast,” he said.

Stating that people are more concerned about the impact of this Act on the indigenous people of the region, Mooshahary asked what will be the impact if these Bangladeshi Hindus, who have already entered the country, get Indian Citizenship in India.

“We also need to understand that there are a number of Bangladeshi Hindus who are already settled in India. The question is — whether it is possible to send them back anywhere else. We are not able to send back even people who are declared foreigners by the tribunal in Assam. The reason for facing difficulties to deport them to Bangladesh is for the simple reason that Bangladesh Government do not accept them as their citizens.  There is no question of sending these Hindus who are already here in India,” former Meghalaya Governor said. He also said that the impact of the CAA is going to be adverse as they are already physically present in the different areas of the North East.

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“We will need to analyse what will be the impact of their presence. I feel if we really don’t need to be worried. There is no need to be unduly concerned. If people has not understood about the impact of this Act then we should have more talks on this subject before going forward with the violent agitation which are taking place; we have witnessed in the past few days in Assam and elsewhere. Violence is still there elsewhere in India. This is my take on this,” he said.

When asked if this is a violation of Article 14, he said that whether it is a violation of equality or not, it depends on what you understand about the Constitution. “There is no absolute equality anywhere. There are so many conditions given for the Northeast. We have special concession by way of Sixth Schedule or by way of reservation for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. Article 14 speaks of equality to all whether religion, caste or creed, but there is no absolute equality. It is the discretion of the Government to find out whom it should extend the facilities.  There is absolutely no equal treatment all the time. It is left to the Government to decide,” former Meghalaya Governor added.

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