Shillong, Nov. 26: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today ruled out any further talks with the agitating pressure groups, which are demanding implementation of the inner-line permit (ILP) and denied there was any deadlock on the issue.
“The government does not want ILP and we will not have discussion on ILP. How many times have we discussed the issue of influx, including the applicability and effectiveness of all mechanisms available?” Sangma told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting here.
On whether his government would again invite the agitating pressure groups to end the impasse, Sangma shot back: “What is that impasse...What do you mean by impasse? The stand of the government is very clear and transparent and it is not a deadlock because these pressure groups are adamant that the state government should implement ILP.
“How many times as chief minister have I had discussions with them in the preceding years and this year too? We say ILP is not effective and we had proposed to come out with a new law. If you say that it is not effective, then suggest an alternative,” Sangma said.
The government and the groups had met on August 29 to discuss influx after which, the groups walked out of the meeting after having understood that the government was averse to the demand for the implementation of the permit.
Since September 2, the groups had called for a series of agitation throughout the state to press for the introduction of the ILP to restrict entry of outsiders into the state. In these three months, various incidents of arson have also taken place.
Sangma said the people have been suffering for so many years because the pressure groups were allowed to act in a manner which disregarded the law.
Therefore, he said, all criminal activities which had occurred during the time of agitation, can be linked only to them (pressure groups) because from day one when they had called for agitation, all leaders of these pressure groups had gone into hiding.
“That itself is an indication beyond reasonable doubt about their intention to create law and order problems. If this is the manner in which they try to address the issue, they need to be told that it is not the right approach,” Sangma asserted.
He also said the protests have been responsible for the lack of development in the state, which had also dislocated the focus of the government.
The chief minister said the police would be asked to carry out proper “profiling” of the participants at the public consultation on November 20 at U Soso Tham auditorium to know if “they were motivated by some other forces” for opposing the draft Meghalaya Regulation of Landlords and Verification of Tenants Bill, 2013.
“We will ask the police to have proper profiling of the participants at the public consultation, whether those who had come to the meeting were motivated by some other forces,” he said.
The Sangma government had proposed to enact the bill, which it claims will address the issue of influx and illegal immigration, as the intended legislation would require verification of tenants.
Alleging that some vested interests had entered into the consultation meeting and came with a pre-determined motive, Sangma said, “I can also put 100 people who can shout there and you should see from that angle also. If they say it (bill) is not correct, what is the correct one, tell us?”
He also alleged that a political party was indulging in the campaign on the issue, which has infused a sense of insecurity among the people.
“Consultation is on to find out a mechanism, and before taking this bill to the Assembly, we would like to take on board all stakeholders to have a comprehensive law to mitigate influx and illegal immigration,” he said.
Stating that the consultation was not to make people agree to every point incorporated in the draft bill, the chief minister said the consultation was needed to provide an opportunity to the people to give their views on what the bill should look like.
On the fear that the proposed law would harass indigenous citizens of the state, he said the purpose of the bill is to put in a mechanism to regulate those who come and stay in rented houses.
The chief minister even referred to Garos in Assam who come to work and reside in Meghalaya.
“You also have Garo people from other states who come to work and stay here,” he added, while maintaining that the public consultation process on the draft bill would continue.