The Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya.

In its letter to Prime Minister Modi, CoMSO said four states in the Northeast have put in place laws and mechanisms to contain unregulated entry of people into their states by implementing the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system, which is an offshoot of the ‘Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873’.

“However, our state, which have been demanding ILP for a very long time have been denied this law and mechanism by the Central Government,” it said.

CoMSO said the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on December 19, 2019 had unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Government of India to implement ILP in the state under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873.

The resolution was moved by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma and all the members of the State Assembly across party lines, including the MLAs of the BJP, supported it.

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“The Assembly Session for one day only was held for the sole purpose of passing the above resolution as it is the aspirations of the indigenous people of state to implement ILP,” the letter, signed by CoMSO chairman Robertjune Kharjahrin and secretary Roykupar Synrem, said.

The confederation said Union Home Minister Amit Shah in his meetings with the delegation of the state led by chief minister Conrad K Sangma, in February this year “assured” that the Government of India was examining the matter for implementation of ILP in the state.

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The resolution was passed and forwarded to the Central government in December 2019 and as per the recent statements of the Meghalaya chief minister, it is learnt that the “Centre is still examining the issue”.

In his reply to a question raised by MP Sabir Ali, the Union MoS for Home in the Rajya Sabha on February 27, 2013 made it clear that “ILP is a system specially meant for the protection of the Indigenous/tribal population in these states”, the letter said.

It was also made clear that the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system falls within the reasonable restriction of Article 19 (5) of the Constitution of India, CoMSO added in its letter.

The Gauhati High Court in the case of ‘North East Plains People Traders and Youth Federation v. Union of India, 2008(3) Gua LT 845’ has also upheld the validity and constitutionality of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, the letter said.

“Meghalaya just like Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur is a small state where the indigenous people of the state are minority in the context of national population and thus it need special protection just like the indigenous people of the other four states referred to above,” the letter said.

Urging the PM to accord approval for implementation of ILP in Meghalaya, CoMSO added, “We are of the opinion that Meghalaya being the transit state to other Northeastern states, flexible rules maybe framed by the state government to implement ILP system so that persons using the State as transit purpose only will not be affected.”

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