Meghalaya Legislative Assembly
File photo of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly building.

The Meghalaya Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution to urge the Centre to implement the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.

As per the resolution, the ILP should be implemented in Meghalaya under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 to safeguard the interests of the citizens of the state.

The speaker, Metbah Lyngdoh, placed the resolution to vote and all members of the House supported through a voice vote.

Also read: Meghalaya Cabinet approves resolution on ILP

The Assembly’s special session was held specifically to pass the resolution on ILP.

The resolution was tabled by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma.

But it took time to pass as members of the House, especially from the opposition Congress, who got engaged in long discussions focussing mainly on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019 and its ramifications.

The speaker also conveyed his support to the resolution.

Also read: Meghalaya: CoMSO thanks Congress for realising ILP need

“The House has spoken in one voice on this very important government resolution, and we stand united and committed to serve for the welfare and interest of the people of our state,” the speaker said.

Section 2 of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 provides for power to prescribe by notification “The Inner Line” prohibiting all citizens of India or any class of such citizens or any persons residing in or passing through such states from going beyond such line without a pass.

Also read: Meghalaya Assembly Speaker rejects ‘no-confidence motion’

Through this resolution, the Meghalaya government will urge the Centre to make necessary amendment to the said regulation for the inclusion of the ‘state of Meghalaya’ in the preamble of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

“Although the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 has provided that it shall not apply to tribal area of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as include in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, this provision will not be adequate to protect and safeguard the interests of the tribal population of the state,” the government resolution said.

The CM informed the House that the resolution on ILP passed by the Assembly would not go to the Parliament, but the President may simply insert the word Meghalaya in the preamble of the regulation and issue a notification.

“As we speak in one voice and as we go together, it is not just the 60 legislators but 33 lakh people of Meghalaya,” the CM said.

“When we go to Delhi and say we want ILP to be implemented, I am sure we will get a positive response and we will continue to work with the government of India and with the people of the state to make this happen,” Conrad Sangma said.

Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma while supporting the resolution, however, stressed that the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016 should be aggressively implemented.

“We collectively say yes (to the resolution), but it is not enough. We have to work out more mechanisms in future and not to be complacent,” Mukul Sangma said.

Mukul Sangma also pointed out that the entry-exit points mandated to be created according to the MRSSA have not been created till date.

He slammed the present MDA government for not being serious in implementing the Act, especially the district task forces.

Mukul Sangma said the government is remaining busy in shifting officers including labour inspectors in the blocks, who should implement this Act.

Other legislators also voiced for the need to implement the MRSSA effectively.

The CM assured that the government would ensure implementation of all other provisions including MRSSA.

“This is a beginning and this resolution should have been taken long time back,” the CM said.

“Maybe the condition was quite clear for us to have implemented ILP without a resolution being moved but we missed this chance.”

“I am not here to blame anybody but now we are in this position, we need to move forward,” the CM added.

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