Meghalaya: CoMSO ready to take protest to the streets of Delhi to demand ILP
By Ibankyntiew Mawrie
The Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisation (CoMSO) on Wednesday said that they are ready to take the protest to the streets of New Delhi to pressure the Centre to grant the Inner Line Permit (ILP) to the state of Meghalaya.
"If the all-party delegation (state) decides to go to Delhi, we are more than ready to tag along," CoMSO chairman Robertjune Kharjahrin said adding that they had already planned to visit the national capital and hold protests though, they are yet to decide on the date.
"If the MLAs fail, then we will carry the burden. We will begin from where they left off," he added.
CoMSO leaders had met the Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh at his chamber in the Assembly premises, Shillong on Wednesday to raise the issue pertaining to the demand for the implementation of ILP in the state.
Addressing media persons after meeting the Speaker, CoMSO chairman Robertjune Kharjahrin said that they met Metbah Lyngdoh not necessarily as the speaker but as the president of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and chairman of the Regional Democratic Alliance (RDA) even as he termed the UDP, which is an ally in the NPP-led government in Meghalaya, as the "King Makers".
"The UDP and RDA have an important role to play in policy-making. They are practically the King Makers," Kharjahrin said.
He said that CoMSO has apprised the Speaker on the need to perhaps constitute an all-party delegation to visit New Delhi and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on this issue.
"The state should take the initiative to show that Meghalaya is united when it comes to ILP. Yes, the resolution (passed by the Meghalaya Assembly in December 2019 on ILP) was unanimous but still if an all-party delegation goes to Delhi, it will make an impact " CoMSO chairman said.
Reacting to this suggestion, the speaker said he leaves it to the wisdom of the government and if the need arises, they are ready to go to Delhi, Kharjahrin said.
To a question on the Meghalaya Residents' Safety and Security Act (MRSSA) (Amendment) Bill 2020, he said that the bill was drafted with a motive to incorporate provisions of the ILP. "If ILP can ensure 100 per cent protection, the MRSSA can achieve at least 85 per cent," he added.
Stating that the implementation of MRSSA is a state matter, Kharjahrin said the home ministry need not intervene as the bill was drafted under the provision of law and order. "And law and order is a state subject and, the moment the centre interferes, it would mean them trying to intervene into the federal structure of the state," he added.
Questioning the decision of the former governor Tathagata Roy to refer the bill to the president, the CoMSO chairman said, "I don't understand on what legal matter he referred the bill to the president."
According to him, under Article 200, a bill is referred to the president only on the concurrent list and if the bill affects the functioning of the high court, which in this case, it is not.
It may be mentioned that the pressure groups of Meghalaya have reignited their demand for ILP with a series of agitation being announced to pressurise the state government to "aggressively" pursue this matter with the Central government.
Kharjahrin said they will be meeting again this Saturday adding that the next phase of agitation will resume next week.
The same yardstick doesn't apply to all: Jemino Mawthoh
Earlier today, UDP leader and former MLA, Jemino Mawthoh had stated that though all the political parties are of the same mind, any party or group is free to adopt whatever approach they want, to pursue this matter.
Mawthoh was reacting to a question on the demand of pressure groups that all 60 MLAs should go to New Delhi and raise this issue in the national capital.
"Lobbying is also very important. Pressure groups have their own ways of doing things, we have our own ways. We are free to adopt different approaches and strategies while the objective remains the same," Mawthoh told TNT-The Northeast Today.
When asked about the MRSSA Amendment Bill 2020, the UDP leader said that any mechanism which is effective and strong will be welcomed.
"Now it depends on the governor to give his approval and we would also welcome if it is approved," he said.
To a question on whether the MRSSA will serve the purpose of ILP, Mawthoh replied in the affirmative.
However, he said, "We can have many mechanisms. Sometimes one may not work but the other will. We need to implement all these mechanisms that are there, detect the inadequacies and loopholes and make it strong, be it ILP or MRSSA as long as it addresses the issue of influx."