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Mukul advice to use RTI

Shillong, Dec. 10: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today asked pro- ILP groups in the state to use the RTI Act to avail the copy of the repeal act of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873, from the Garo hills.

“Let them seek information from the Union ministry of home affairs through RTI on the repeal act in order to have complete clarity since they have decided not to believe the state government,” Sangma told reporters.

The Meghalaya government claimed that the applicability of the ILP-regime under the BEFR Act was repealed from the Garo hills in 1897.

Accusing the pro-ILP groups of being adamant in their approach, Sangma said the government, without acceding to the demand of implementing the ILP, was flexible in its approach and committed to address the influx issue by proposing a new legislative measure to deal with the demand to re-implement the permit.

Asking the groups to take an opportunity and suggest an alternative to the government, Sangma said, “If they are really concerned for the future generations and interests of the indigenous people of the state, there was no need for them to be adamant and ask only for one (ILP).”

He also said the government has been saying the ILP cannot be implemented in the entire state of Meghalaya since the Garo hills has been excluded from the BEFR Act.

“This regulation extends proprio vigore (of or by its own force independently) to the districts of Cachar, Darrang, Kamrup, Khasi and Jainta hills, Lakhimpur, Naga hills, Nowgong and Sibsagar,” the act states.

The regulation, however, is still in place in Khasi-Jaintia hills.

The Centre last week claimed that the imposition of the ILP in Meghalaya would be ultra vires to Articles 19 (d) and 19 (e) of the Constitution.

Shambhu Singh, joint secretary (Northeast) in the home ministry, said the ILP system cannot be imposed where it was not in existence when the Constitution came into being or was revoked thereafter.

“It is an archaic law and it will affect development, besides being unconstitutional,” Singh had said.

However, the pressure groups dismissed the Centre’s claim, saying that the BEFR Act was still an “existing” law and that in Meghalaya, the regulatory mechanism for entry of outsiders can be implemented by the state government without knocking on the Centre’s door by just issuing a notification.

CM rebuffs “political ploy” allegation: The chief minister has also slammed certain political parties in the state for terming “political ploy” on the claim of the Centre that the ILP cannot be implemented in Meghalaya.

“The statement has come from the Union ministry of home affairs. They cannot link it to a political ploy and such allegation will only mislead the people of the state,” Sangma said.

Sangma also rejected the allegations that laws like the Meghalaya Preventive Detention Act and Meghalaya Maintenance of Public Order Act are “draconian” in nature and alleged that the people who spearhead the campaign have “evil designs to mislead the people and then create chaos and disorder”.


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