Shillong: The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) today slammed the Centre for its “lack of political will” to implement the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya.
“The delay to implement the ILP and inclusion of the Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India is due to the Centre’s lack of political will,” KSU chief Lambokstarwell Marngar told reporters at the sidelines of a function to pay rich tribute to the union’s former president (L) Bull N Lyngdoh on his 28th death anniversary.
“The delay also shows that the Centre totally disrespects the sentiments of the indigenous people and the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly along with the 60 MLAs of the state,” he said.
Marngar also blamed the state government for being too weak in its approach and said, “We don’t know whether they even discuss these pending issues every time they frequent New Delhi. If they are really serious, they should aggressively pursue with the Centre and ensure ILP is immediately implemented in Meghalaya.”
He said the State Assembly had on December 19, 2019, passed an official resolution urging the Centre to implement ILP to check unabated influx into the state but the Centre is buying time saying that it is still studying and examining the said resolution.
Castigating the stand of certain political parties that the ILP will have a negative impact on the tourism industry in the state, Marngar said, “We want to send a clear message that we need effective laws to protect the indigenous people of the state.”
The KSU chief further maintained that to say that Meghalaya cannot get ILP because it is a transit state is just an excuse.
“If there is a political will to implement the ILP, we don’t see any difficulty for the government to address the hurdles because the modalities for implementing the ILP can be different from one state to another but to directly conclude that Meghalaya cannot get ILP because it is a transit state only make us believe that there is something beyond,” he said.
Earlier, while addressing the function, Marngar asked if it is a sin for Meghalaya to demand for ILP.
“If the Centre cannot grant ILP to Meghalaya then why is it implementing ILP in other states of the North East region? When it can grant ILP to Manipur in 2019 then why not in Meghalaya, which is already covered under the purview of the said law,” he said.
Further, Marngar slammed the state government for delaying the implementation of the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA).
“Despite the MRSSA being passed by the state government in 2016, but sadly the excuse given on the delay was that its implementation also requires the approval of the Centre,” he said while questioning, “We don’t know what kinds of leaders we are having in the Secretariat when the state government has to seek the Centre’s permission to implement its own laws.”
Stating that this has questioned the government’s seriousness to protect the indigenous people and their land, Marngar said, “There are attempts to dilute the demand but I urge every member of the KSU that let us be the law to protect the indigenous people if those who have the power to implement laws are blind and turn a deaf ear to this long pending demand.”
He also warned those who attempt to politicize the ILP for their personal and political gain. “We also send a clear message that the Centre and state governments should not blame the youth for taking out various forms of agitation due to their adamant attitude and lack of political will to fulfil the aspiration of the people,” he added.
During the function, leaders of the KSU laid floral wreaths in front of the bust of the late leader while recalling his selfless contributions to the cause of the indigenous people.