| Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO) president Agnes Kharshiing speaks at a new conference in Shillong on Monday to explain the organisation’s decision to disassociate itself from the pro-ILP groups. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, Dec. 2: The agitation by the pro inner-line permit (ILP) groups in Meghalaya today completed three months with no sign of an end to the impasse.
The pressure groups called for a series of agitation throughout the state starting from September 2 to press for the implementation of the ILP under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, to restrict the entry of outsiders into the state.
Today, the groups announced night road blockades on December 4, 5 and 6 from 9pm to 5am.
While the 13 pressure groups were firm in their demand to implement the ILP since it is a law that has already been enacted, the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA-II) government rejected the demand and termed the ILP regime as an “outdated British-era law”.
In place of ILP, the government came up with a draft Meghalaya Regulation of Landlords and Verification of Tenants Bill, 2013.
During the past three months, law-enforcing agencies have registered 86 cases against pro-ILP groups and arrested 71 persons. Seven top leaders of the three pressure groups have been asked to appear before an investigating officer of different police stations.
Speaking to reporters here, East Khasi Hills superintendent of police Mariahom Kharkrang said seven summons have been issued to seven leaders of the three pressure groups — Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Federation of Khasi Jaiñtia and Garo People (FKJGP) and Hynñiewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) — under Section 41 CrPC.
According to Kharkrang, summons are issued to these leaders as they were behind a number of incidents committed during the agitation. Until today, none of the leaders appeared before an investigating officer, the superintendent of police added.
“If they do not appear before the investigating officers, we will chargesheet them,” Kharkrang said.
Linking incidents, which happened during the agitation period to leaders and members of the pro-ILP groups, Kharkrang said all 71 persons have been arrested based on evidence, which prove their involvement in incidents like arson, petrol bomb attacks, stone pelting and other untoward incidents.
Of the 86 cases, East Khasi Hills police have filed chargesheets for 15 cases, and according to Kharkrang, chargesheets will be submitted for another 15 cases tomorrow. Of the 71 arrested persons, who are mostly KSU members, around 60 per cent of them had received bail, he added.
In Ri Bhoi district, superintendent of police C.V.S. Reddy said nearly a dozen persons were arrested while another 16 cases were registered for allegedly committing crimes during the period of agitation on ILP.
KSU vice-president Frederick Kharmawphlang, while announcing the fresh movement, said, “If the government continues to remain adamant and does not pay heed to the voice of the people, as seen during the Saturday meeting at Students’ Field, the groups will intensity the agitation.” He also said soon after the school and college examinations are over, the groups would intensify their protests.