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Meghalaya groups seek check gates at entry-exit points

Written by Abhishek Saha
| Guwahati |

Published: June 4, 2020 5:23:10 am

Imphal East: Police try to stop student activists of Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) during a protest at Konung Mamang, Imphal East on Friday. PTI Photo

Multiple influential groups in Meghalaya have written to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to double down on implementing the provisions the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, which includes check-gates at entry and exit points of the state similar to Inner Line Permit rule (ILP) in neighbouring states.

Though mostly covered by the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution providing autonomy for tribal areas, there is a sustained demand in Meghalaya for ILP, a special permit required by people from other regions of India to enter Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and lately Manipur. To pacify the demand for ILP, the Meghalaya Residents Act was amended in November last to mirror the stringent ILP, but didn’t get the Governor’s nod to become law.

The Act, in its present form, allows the state to establish ‘facilitation centres’ at entry and exit points in the state.

The letter said, “The Entry and Exit Points are a long-pending project and is much awaited by the people of Meghalaya. Therefore it is suggested that the Government of Meghalaya should take cue from the State of Manipur where the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act (BEFR) or the Inner Line Permit (ILP) was implemented without any delay once notified by the Central Government.”

The letter, sent on June 2, follows a government announcement that “highly-skilled” workers from outside the state — only in sectors where there is shortage of local skilled workers — will be allowed in after following precautionary measures against Covid.

The letter was signed by leaders of seven organisations, including the Khasi Students’ Union.

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