Mixed marriages in Meghalaya will see a drastic reduction if the inner-line permit (ILP) is introduced, some organisations have claimed.
Distributing leaflets to the public on Friday as a part of the campaign for immediate introduction of the ILP, the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations enlisted a slew of benefits that will come with the permit system, including reduction in mixed marriages between indigenous and non-indigenous individuals as those who enter Meghalaya have to reside for a limited period only.
Various organisations in Meghalaya from time to time have raised concerns over mixed marriages, especially between indigenous women and non-indigenous men.
The confederation stated that the first benefit of the ILP was that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 would not operate in Meghalaya. “The indigenous people will feel safer because there will be a law to protect them from being overwhelmed by outsiders. Their political rights will also be guaranteed.”
Moreover, rights over employment, trade, land, customs, language and tradition would remain as governance would be in the hands of the indigenous people and “outsiders” would not be empowered to take away such rights.
It said the ILP would strengthen the Meghalaya Transfer of Land (Regulation) Act, 1971. This Act prohibits non-indigenous people from purchasing land in a vast majority of areas in the state.
The confederation said the ILP would bring in revenue for the state. It cited the example of Manipur, where within a month of implementing the ILP, the state earned a revenue of around Rs 1 crore.
The group claimed that criminal elements would find it difficult to make Meghalaya a safe haven as the ILP would regulate their entry. The local traditional institutions would be empowered to check entries and exits in localities.
The confederation claimed that the ILP would not have any impact on the flow of tourists into the state. It pointed out that Arunachal Pradesh, where the ILP is in place, was awarded the Best Emerging Green Tourist Destination Award 2019. But even if tourism is affected, “we have to ponder whether the rights of the indigenous population are more important or the entry of tourists”, it added.
It also claimed that the ILP would not affect growth. During the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2007-2012), it said Mizoram and Arunachal did much better than Meghalaya. Moreover, it said, the ILP would not lead to discontinuance of the Sixth Schedule in the state.
“Those opposed to ILP are the ones with vested interests and political parties which have to depend on outsiders to win elections,” it said.
The confederation appealed to the public, including government employees, to unite in the demand for the ILP.