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ILP cry gathers pace

Shillong, Sept. 11: Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s terse rejection of the demand to introduce the inner line permit (ILP) in Manipur may not be pleasing for those who have been voicing a similar demand in Meghalaya but they are determined to press for it.

Pressure groups in this hill state have been demanding that the Mukul Sangma government emulate Manipur by adopting a strong resolution to be placed before the Centre for the implementation of ILP to combat illegal migration.

In relation to the demand for ILP in Manipur, Shinde yesterday said, “Our Constitution will not allow such things. Any sensible person who believes in the Constitution will not pass such a bill.”

In July this year, the Manipur Assembly had passed a private members bill moved by three Trinamul legislators for the introduction of the ILP. Going by Shinde’s assertion, the bill will not get presidential assent.

The ILP system has been in place in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873. Under the system, any Indian citizen who is not a resident of these states needs a permit from state authorities to enter the state.

However, the influential Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), which has joined hands with as many as nine other pressure groups, has asserted that it would continue to fight for the introduction of ILP. “The ILP, which was introduced by the British, was promulgated throughout the region during the pre-Independence period. It was subsequently revoked after Independence. Hence, the ILP is not a new mechanism anymore,” KSU general secretary Auguster Jyrwa told The Telegraph.

He said some years ago, the union had written to the Centre demanding re-introduction of the ILP.

“We need the ILP to combat the burgeoning rise of illegal migrants,” Jyrwa said.

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma has time and again made known his apparent aversion to the idea of putting in place the ILP system.

According to him, the government will adopt mechanisms, which would be “stronger” than the ILP to check influx and illegal migration.

His government had also recently constituted two committees to make suitable recommendations for combating influx.

The Meghalaya BJP today alleged that the setting up of the committees was only a time-buying exercise.

BJP general secretary Dipayan Chakraborty said the government has been turning a deaf ear to the demand to detect “D-voters” in the state, especially in Garo hills.

“There is no infiltration checkgate, especially in Garo hills, and the checkgates in Khasi Hills are very weak. If the government still continues to neglect the issue then the state will shortly face an Assam-like situation,” Chakraborty added.