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ILP groups open to talks

Shillong, Jan. 10: Pro inner-line permit groups have welcomed Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma’s invitation for talks on January 15 with an “open mind”.

This statement indicates that the groups may refrain from stressing on ILP alone as a mechanism to check influx and illegal immigration into Meghalaya, unlike in the recent past.

On behalf of the 13 pressure groups, Khasi Students’ Union vice-president Frederick Kharmawphlang today said the groups are ready to come to the negotiating table with an “open mind” as stated by the chief minister. But he hastened to add that the government should first stop “hunting” the pressure group leaders so that they would be in a position to participate in the talks.

“The organisations spearheading the demand for the implementation of the ILP met today and decided to welcome the invitation of the government to discuss the issue of influx in the state,” he said in a statement. He said the groups are also willing to participate in the discussions with an open mind.

However, he said in spite of the recent statement by Sangma that pressure group members can move freely, police personnel are still continuing their raids in the hope of arresting the members.

“We would like to state that at this juncture we need all the members to participate in the decision-making and in the discussion. We feel that the police department must be directed to desist from such activities so that we can actively participate in the discussion on January 15,” Kharmawphlang said.

He said as a gesture of good faith, the government should begin the process by releasing all the arrested members of the different groups without further delay.