Several Meghalaya based pressure groups, who are demanding implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state, on Saturday voiced disappointment after not being able to hold discussions with the Home Minister Amit Shah over the issue.
During his official visit to the state, Shah met a delegation of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) Cabinet as well as the pressure groups. He however could not hold any discussion but only assured to meet them very soon in New Delhi.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the Union Home Minister was keen to meet the Cabinet and the pressure groups.
“But due to certain programmes that came up in Assam, his programme changed and he had to go back and so based on that there was change in the appointments and the Home Minister’s office requested that he may not be able to sit down with the Cabinet and the organisations who had sought appointment,” Sangma added.
“But on insistence of the government of Meghalaya that at least an opportunity to hand over the memorandums should be given and he agreed to that and based on that we submitted one memorandum from the government and the organizations also submitted their memorandums to the union home minister,” he said.
The chief minister further informed that the Union Home minister has assured to meet both the Cabinet and the pressure groups in New Delhi.
“He (Shah) has conveyed through me that he will be happy to meet the Cabinet and the other organizations in Delhi. He has asked my office to coordinate and based on which we will be seeking an appointment now to go to Delhi maybe sometimes when the parliament starts,” he said.
Asked if the centre is serious on implementing ILP in Meghalaya, the CM however said, “We will be discussing that when we go to Delhi as we were not able to discuss these matters today.”
In the memorandum submitted to Shah, Sangma said, “We (MDA) have reiterated the resolution was passed by the state Assembly for ILP implementation and we have urged the Centre to consider that. We have also mentioned about the Sixth Schedule and inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.”
Leaders of the the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU,) Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), and Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) and Confederation of Social Organizations of Meghalaya (CoMSO) were expecting that they would be holding an audience with the Union Home Minister to press for the implementation of ILP, but Shah only accepted their memorandum.
However, Shah has informed that he would be holding detailed discussion with the Cabinet Ministers and the social organizations in the first week of February during the upcoming budget session of the Parliament in New Delhi.
“It is sad that we were not allowed to utter even a word on the issue of ILP. We only wanted to know if the Centre says yes or no on ILP,” Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), president Lambokstarwell Marngar told reporters after their meeting with the Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma at the State Secretariat in the evening.
He said that the pressure groups had witnessed that even the Cabinet Ministers of the Meghalaya government were not allowed by Shah to discuss issues.
“This is an insult to the people of Meghalaya that even our cabinet ministers were not allowed to meet to discuss an issue which the Meghalaya Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Government of India to implement ILP in the State,” Marngar said.
The KSU president said the demand to implement the ILP was taken by the members of the 60-member Meghalaya Legislative Assembly through a resolution and is therefore the voice of the people.
FKJGP president Wellbirth Rani said it’s a “total insult to the State of Meghalaya” on the Union Home Minister not holding discussion with the organizations on this vital issue.
“The reason for providing the appointment to the organization is just to please them and the State Government,” Rani said.
COMSO Chairman, Robertjune Kharjahrin said, “We were told the reason the Home Minister didn’t want to hold a chat with us because he wanted to hold detailed discussions which may not be possible to hold within a span of five minutes…of course we are disappointed.”
He said that the organization would discuss and would decide on the further course of action. “We would definitely intensify our agitation,” Kharjharin said.