File photo: Kiren Rijiju and Conrad K Sangma. Northeast Now

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma met Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju in New Delhi on Sunday and thanked him and the Centre for withdrawing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act [AFSPA] from Meghalaya.

Briefing Rijiju on the current law and order situation in Meghalaya, Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma also sought his intervention and support for ensuring that certain central Acts, which are applicable in relation to coal mining is exempted from Meghalaya by invoking para 12(A), (B) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.

Meghalaya was not allowed to mine coal by the National Green Tribunal since April 17, 2014 due to haphazard and unscientific mining which affected the ecology especially polluting rivers and streams.

It may be mentioned that the Union Home Ministry on April 23, 2018 completely revoked the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya while diluting it in other regions of Arunachal Pradesh.

It may be mentioned that till September last year, 40 per cent of Meghalaya was under the AFSPA. However, after recent review in consultations with the state government, the Act was removed completely from Meghalaya, an MHA statement said.

On the other hand, AFSPA is now applicable only in 8 police stations in Arunachal, down from 16 police stations in 2017. In another decision, the Home Ministry enhanced the aid under the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for militants in northeast from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 4 lakh.

The government also relaxed the restricted area permit and protected area permit for foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. Restrictions, however, will remain for “countries of concern”, which include Pakistan, Afghanistan and China.


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