On the occasion of the Meghalaya Statehood Day, the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organizations (CoMSO) organized a candlelight vigil in the state capital Shillong to express concern over the government’s failure to fulfill the long pending aspirations of the people which include implementation of the inner line permit (ILP), resolving the boundary disputes and others.
Speaking to reporters, CoMSO chairman Robertjune Kharjahrin said the Thursday’s protest has two objectives – one is to honor the hill state warriors and the other is to mourn the failure of both the Centre and state governments to fulfill long pending aspirations of the people.
“We mourn because governments after governments have not been able to settle these issues once and for all be it the government of Meghalaya and also the government of India,” he said.
“The fact that we have not been able to settle both the international and inter-state boundary disputes, we have not been able to achieve laws like the ILP to protect the indigenous people from being outnumbered by illegal immigrants even after 49 years of statehood is a very sorry state of affairs,” he added.
Kharjahrin said the government of India should be blamed because as the Constitution has clearly stated that it is the duty of the government of India to settle boundary disputes between two states but that has not happened.
Condemning the “apathy attitude and step-motherly treatment” of the Centre by delaying to accord sanction for implementation of the ILP in Meghalaya, he said if other states could get ILP, why the same union government is not giving it to Meghalaya.
“We also want to remind that the objective of the hill state movement and the ILP movement is the same as both aims toward the protection of the indigenous people in our own backyard,” he said.
He further said that the CoMSO also demands all the parliamentarians and legislators of the state to draw inspiration from the leaders of the hill state movement in order to fulfill the long pending aspirations of the people of the state.
According to him, the other issues related to the Meghalaya Residents, Safety and Security (Amendment) Bill, 2020, inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.
On the Union Home minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state on January 23, Kharjahrin said that the CoMSO has high expectations and believes that the NDA government’s words will turn into action by implementing the ILP in Meghalaya.
“The NDA government has always expressed that it wants to protect the indigenous people so we hope these words turned into action during our meeting with him. Also if the Union government can grant ILP as a gift to the indigenous people of Manipur, I think we have demanded it as our right so they should also accord sanction for the implementation of ILP in Meghalaya,” he said.
Meanwhile, the CoMSO has reiterated its demand for all 60 legislators to go to Delhi and if possible to meet the Union Home minister on January 23 as this will have a big impact on the ILP movement.
“The CoMSO and the people of the state will be very happy to see if both the government and the opposition are united together to fight as a team with regards to ILP and other issues,” he said.
On the government’s decision that only cabinet ministers will be meeting Shah, the CoMSO chairman however said the demand that all 60 MLAs should take up with the Centre is because “we don’t want this issue to boil down to politics since the ILP resolution was passed unanimously by all of them.”
Apart from lighting candles, activists were also seen observing two minutes of silence and applauding as a mark of respect to the all leaders of the hill state movement.