SHILLONG | Dec 29:
The Meghalaya government on Saturday has “strongly” reacted to a news report published a web portal which stated that New Delhi may not approve the demand for Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya even as it rubbished the reports and termed it as a “speculation of the vested interest.”
“I think some vested interest is trying to create confusion in the minds of the people and also to create law and order problem in the State,” Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said while reacting to this news item.
According to him, the State Government is yet to get an official appointment with the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah.
“We will be meeting the Union Home Minister to discuss on the resolution adopted by the Assembly for implementing ILP in the State,” Tynsong said.
The news portal quoting high-level sources stated that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has no immediate plans to introduce ILP in Meghalaya.
The sources said the Ministry of Home Affairs, taking into account the prospect of growth in 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.
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.