Checking influx: Meghalaya groups warn against delay in setting up entry-exit points

Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act warrants such check points for establishing the identity of anyone who visits the State.

December 18, 2020 05:56 pm | Updated 05:57 pm IST - GUWAHATI:

Pressure groups in Meghalaya demanding the implementation of inner-line permit (ILP) in the State have threatened to set up entry-exit points for weeding out “unwanted people” on their own if the Conrad Sangma-led alliance government cannot on December 21.

The Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), which prescribes a set of documents similar to the ILP, warrants such entry-exit points ostensibly to check influx and establish the identity of those who wish to visit the State.

The ILP is a document mandated by the British-era Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 essentially to restrict travel to certain parts of the northeast. ILP is currently applicable for Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.

The Meghalaya government was scheduled to open an entry-exit point in the State’s Ri-Bhoi district on December 16 but the event was deferred to December 21. The delay irritated influential tribal groups such as the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP).

“If the government does not open the entry-exit point on December 21, we will do so ourselves to make it functional from that day itself,” KKJGP president Wellbirth Rani said.

His KSU counterpart, Lambokstarwell Marngar said the implementation of ILP was a people’s demand and could prevent the spread of the “Delhi virus” called the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Meghalaya’s Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong, assured there would be no further delay in opening the entry-exit gate and negated “theories” that it would affect tourism in State. Meghalaya is set to allow tourists in from December 21.

Mr. Tynsong also allayed fears that genuine non-tribal citizens of the State may face harassment at the entry-exit gate. “Our permanent residents, be they tribals or non-tribals, should not panic at all,” he said.

While the ILP ball is in the court of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik said he would try to convince Union Home Minister Amit Shah to consider the implementation of the MRSSA.

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