Three-year-old Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government headed by the National People’s Party (NPP) leader Conrad Sangma as the Chief Minister, is facing the toughest challenge during its tenure so far. The ruling coalition comprising NPP, United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), People’s Democratic Front (PDF), BJP and NCP, is under tremendous pressure from pressure groups in Meghalaya for introduction on Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.
Introduction of ILP, in fact, been a long-standing demand of these pressure groups including Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Coordination Committee of Meghalaya Social Organisation (CoMSO), Federation of Khasi Jaintia Garo People (FKJGP) etc. In the wake of enactment of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the demand for ILP in Meghalaya has acquired intensity and these pressure groups representing the indigenous tribal communities in the state have become apprehensive of being reduced to minority in near future in the wake of implementation of the CAA.
Under the pressure from these groups, Meghalaya Assembly last year adopted a unanimous resolution for introduction of the ILP in the state and the same was forwarded to the Centre which only can take the final decision in the matter. However, the Central government is still sitting on the unanimous resolution passed by the state Assembly favouring introduction of ILP in the hill state much to the discomfort of the MDA government in Meghalaya and chagrin of the pressure groups.
The patience of the pressure groups is fast running out even as Meghalaya government is claiming that it is waiting for a positive response from the Centre even though the previous Governor of the state Tathagata Roy had rejected the state government’s proposal for implementation of the ILP which is in vogue in NE states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
The showdown between the MDA government and pressure groups look imminent as some of the pressure groups including the KSU has threatened to take upon themselves to implement ILP in the state, which has been strictly warned against by the Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma.
The Opposition Congress, in the meantime is trying to add fuel to the fire by making instigating statements lambasting the ruling coalition for their failure to convince the Centre for implementation of the ILP in Meghalaya. The previous Congress government too had approached the Centre over the issue but the response of the Centre was as lukewarm as it is today. The previous Congress government in the state, however, managed to enact Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act (MRSSA) which required the local village head to keep record of outsiders residing or visiting their respective locality.
Under pressure, the incumbent MDA government has geared up setting up of entry and exit points in various localities in the state to keep a check on outsiders visiting the state and prevent entry of suspected illegal migrants.
But the Centre should take note of the simmering tension in the hill state over the ILP demand and act judiciously sans further delay before the situation turns ugly there.