Normal life was disrupted in Meghalaya on Monday as a result of a 12-hour general strike called by several NGOs demanding the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state.
The Chief Minister Mukul Sangma maintained that the ILP system was redundant since the existing laws are powerful enough to check the influx of illegal migrants. Besides quoting the census reports, he said the population of the indigenous peoples in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh where the ILP is in force had decreased.
Educational institutions, business centres, shops and public places wore a deserted look. Vehicles were off the road. Police beefed up security measures in all trouble-prone areas and there was no report of any untoward incident.
The pro-ILP activists fear that the migrants and foreigners from Bangladesh will outnumber the indigenous people, quoting the example of how Tripuris had become a minority in their own home state.
The activists are questioning the policy of the Union Government to deny the ILP system in Meghalaya since it is already in force in Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
As in case of Manipur, militants had gunned down some migrant workers in and around Shillong. The victims are feared to be persons of Bangladeshi extraction.