| Police arrest Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) leaders and members from the State Central Library premises in Shillong on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, Sept. 9: The Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) today asked Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma to table the report of the high-level committee on influx before the cabinet, as the panel had prescribed inner-line permit (ILP) for the state.
“He (Sangma) cannot decide on the committee report alone. It should be tabled before the cabinet and the cabinet will decide whether to accept or reject it,” KHNAM working president Adelbert Nongrum said after staging a hunger strike here along with party leaders and supporters.
He said the cabinet members should be given an opportunity to discuss the report and the recommendations therein. The committee, which was headed by then deputy chief minister Bindo M. Lanong, had recommended implementation of ILP throughout the state “through appropriate legislation, which should include the Garo hills also, by looking into the legality of repeal order of 1897”. The ILP regime was reportedly repealed from the Garo hills region in 1897.
At the same time, the committee was of the opinion that “the proposed ILP could be structured in a manner that would facilitate the participation of traditional institutions, NGOs and civil society and due care be exercised so that genuine residents of the state should not be subjected to undue harassment”. Earlier, police had taken away the KHNAM leaders and supporters, who had assembled in front of the state central library here in the morning to stage the hunger strike, to Madan Iewrynghep in Laitumkhrah. The activists, along with its president Pyndapborthiaw Saibon and leaders like Nongrum, Latiplang Kharkongor and James Ban Basaiawmoit, were reluctant to move out of the library premises as police and district magistrates asked them to relocate.
Displaying placards and shouting slogans in favour of the ILP regime, the activists were shifted to Madan Iewrynghep around noon.
The strike was staged to push for implementation of ILP and to condemn the state government’s adamant attitude in not calling school and college teachers to the negotiating table. “We organised the strike to protest against the government, especially the chief minister, who is unwilling to implement ILP in the state,” Saibon said.He said KHNAM was a political party and its members should have been allowed to assemble on the State Central Library premises despite promulgation of prohibitory orders.
Saibon said the KHNAM had extended full support to the pressure groups demanding implementation of ILP and that his party was ready to work with other political parties fighting for the same cause.
The demand for implementing the ILP regime in Meghalaya dates back to 1987, a former state legislator said today.
According to former legislator S.D. Khongwir, who had also served as a deputy chief minister, seven regional parties from the Northeast met at Guwahati in June 1987 and expressed anguish against the “unabated largescale influx of outsiders”.
He said Hill People Union (HPU), a Meghalaya-based political party, had decided to demand ILP implementation and met central leaders in New Delhi to discuss the issue. However, he said, media reports of that time said the Centre appeared to be unwilling to extend the ILP regime to Meghalaya.
Labour inspectors: In what can be seen as a reaction to the ongoing demand for inner-line permit, East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner Sanjay Goyal said 55 officers from various departments had been notified as “labour inspectors” by the state labour department.
“The purpose of the notification was to monitor and inspect work/construction sites to check on illegal migrants, in addition to the existing manpower with the labour department in the East Khasi Hills district,” Goyal said.
Therefore, he said, all principal employers and contractors had been directed to register their respective establishments and obtain licences from the office of labour commissioner, Meghalaya, sub-divisional officer (civil), Sohra, and all block development officers within their respective jurisdictions within 15 days with effect from tomorrow.
Goyal also warned that defaulters would be liable to penal action and prosecution in accordance with rules of the Inter-Sate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 1979.